When I imagine a drive in movie, I think big American, cars rock n roll, poodle skirts and the movie Greece.
I don’t really think much past that image . Until I saw a shared post on Facebook . Cardboard box cars all lined up containing children watching a film. This allowed me to not only reimagine it but when shared it become a reality . On Saturday our community had its very own drive in movie night.
Its such a simple idea, children make cars out of cardboard banana boxes adding embellishments. With plenty of imagination the boxes were transformed. After making the cars and parking them up a tea was provided . The children soon settled into their cars and enjoyed the film.
It has made me think how we label and stereotype often not being prepared to see past what we already know.
The children sat in boxes clearly labeled bananas. To everyone in that room they sat in cars.
The boxes had been beautifully crafted by the children. Adding paper wheels, some even had cup holders. Cars were unroad worthy some even multi occupancy but they were obviously cars.
Sitting enjoying the film my mind started to wonder. It made me think how Jesus does not label us, and how much we label .
On the outside boxes are clearly labeled bananas . So we should expect to find bananas on the inside.
Why would we find anything else? Its obvious why we have to label boxes.
But why are we so keen to label people ?
No one wants their identity boiled down to one thing, even if the label is a strength, a talent, or a gift. Even positive labelling restricts us . Puts us in a box that’s hard to get out of.
The way we label people is something I have always felt strongly about even in my teenage years it frustrated me . Caring for a little person with additional needs and finding my faith has strengthened my feeling about the way we judge and label people without much thought or consideration to them.
We can make decisions so quickly. Putting people into categories because of their jobs, looks, religion or race. It’s easily to do, we have all done it. It’s only by getting to know people and genuinely wanting to be with them understand them do we remove those unwanted labels.
Labels can really hurt, keep you from being who you really are.
I need to live my life by what I feel inside. Not the labels that others give me, or even the labels I give myself.
The labels I have carried and given myself are no longer significant, they no longer limit me in the way they used to . I am learning to see and live beyond my labels.
Jesus set me free from my labels allowed me to peel them back.
I am so much more than a label. I am a child of God and that’s all I am and who I am.
We could have described our drive in movie afternoon afternoon as “A fresh expression of church lead by an evangelical team ” it could equally be “Community family drive in movie night” .
Its was all those things but it was just simply to me one thing God at work .
Its being involved in lives of the families in our community. It’s The conversations we have, love we have for them, the love of Christ that we want to share with them. Jesus loves us and that’s the message I want to share. “ you are loved “ . Loved without labels, loved on your good days and bad days . It’s good to loose the long words that not everyone understands and think just about what’s at the heart of what we do.
Psalm 139:14Good News Translation
I praise you because you are to be feared;
all you do is strange and wonderful.
I know it with all my heart.
Writing this blog has been for my benefit. The writing started when I went through a life-changing event. It’s helping me try and process my thoughts and feelings. When the pain was at its strongest pressing the publish button was a short-term release.
Sending my pain into the ether dumping it on the world helped my grief, gave me focus and purpose.
When I first put pen to paper I was scared.
Fearful that: I would no longer see the beauty that surrounds us, forget how to smile, scared I would not see beauty in creation, frightened that my grief would totally consume me.
That’s why the title of my blog is “ It’s a beautiful world “ ( read more and all will be explained )
It helped me, amazingly people read my blog! not only that they took the time to like my blogs even leaving thoughtful comments.
Every blog takes a lot of time and effort. Spelling and grammar is a constant battle, I am so determined it will not stop me writing.
I have had to learn about sentence structures, going back to the basics learning what I missed out on at primary school.
Learning to find ways around my dyslexia has improved my writing. Conquering my fears has seen my confidence grow.
I have also learnt that when the blog was created I misspelt world and that my blog is called it’s a beautiful word ( not world ).
When this was pointed out to me I saw the humour in this. The humour was short lived when it seemed more purposeful, growing from world to word started to take on its own meaning.
When I started my blog it was all about seeing everyday beauty in the world. Writing and journeying with my blog I have discovered that words are beautiful too, not something to avoid or be afraid of.
My blog is my journey from the visual world to the deeper inside world of me, my spiritual journey, the word of God guiding, inspiring, pushing, almost shouting me along.
When big things happen it’s writing that gives it some certainty conforming my thoughts and feelings.
One big thought has been on continuous repeat in my head for many months “ is God opening new doors to me in a way that seem impossible.”
The person ( me) that started this journey was petrified of words. I left the library book club due to my fear of being asked to read aloud. Avoided writing whenever possible, if their was a card to sign I would never sign it ashamed of my handwriting /spelling, this is all slowly changing.
It’s God that’s pushing me forward changing my beautiful world and allowing me to see beautiful words.
As the fear very slowly eases so the direction all this is going is starting to unfold.
The calling I have to be alongside people in our communities is overpowering. Exploring the possibilities of being called to ordination is the path that I am walking.
It seems totally bonkers, repeatedly asking myself can this be real. Can I, Could I be called to be a Deacon? Is this even possible?
This is not my plan; it’s coming from God. I am going to have to push myself every step of the way acting out of my comfort zone beyond what I ever imagined and believed I am capable of.
Last night I sat with lots of people that have a calling and was not afraid to be their ( Three years ago I would never have gone ).
I was not afraid of who I am and what I believe.
The best thing about last night I felt comfortable with the conversations. I was quiet but learnt so much listening. Just like the written word the spoken word will take me time for me to practice it before I see and feel its beauty too. But the best bit was I felt like it was the place God wanted me to be.
1 Samuel 16:7The Message (MSG)
7 But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”
God has been very much with me these last few days. I have been forced to slow up, giving more time for Prayer; for myself and others. Praying for myself is something I I find difficult; I pray for those I love, friends family, communities, those that live far away. It always seems selfish to ask for things for myself; I have food, a lovely home, I am loved. To ask for anything outside of this just does not feel right. This weekend I focused more on myself praying for help and guidance.
Trying to understand just because I don’t believe in myself God does. Images thoughts and dreams that come from God are so big and so real. Theirs no escaping them every time I pray the same things come to me.
They defiantly come from God because I don’t believe in myself enough to make these things happen. But I do believe God thinks I am capable; these things are strangely possibly achievable. I am overwhelmed by the thought of my future but excited at the same time.
The prayers have brought the tears that shape and change me. In church this morning tears were trying to escape at every opportunity. Tears that that needed to flow and happen . Some of the tears were full of Gods love, some sadness, but most of the tears this weekend were fear, afraid of what I might lose or never even get the opportunity to gain.
Sunday church service this morning caused a lot of tears . Being asked to think and pray about “ what does it take for me to follow Jesus” . The more I thought about this this the more the tears tried to leak out everywhere a few escaping .
Following Jesus produces tears, not sad tears; but God tears .
Gods love is bigger than pain, it does not stop the pain from hurting but protects me from the pain in only the way God can.
Following Jesus has changed my life in a way that cannot be reversed. It’s not as simple as starting to attend church it’s a complete inside person change. It’s following Jesus that has caused my pain and is continuing to cause me pain.
It’s standing up for what’s right treating another human with love compassion and grace. Staying with them and not turning my back on them when life goes the wrong direction.
Fighting for justice , not allowing something that is wrong to happen just because it’s easier not to fight.
Life would be so much easier if I was not following Jesus. I could think only for myself , not look beyond the four walls of my home and live a blissfully inward life. I would think I was happy convincing myself that retail therapy wants and needs would give me fulfilment.
But that’s not happiness; even when emotionally I am exhausted, I still smile it’s that beautiful inner happiness ; The joy of having Jesus in my life .
To follow Jesus for me is pushing forward to do Gods work alongside the people in our communities fighting and working with the unseen and forgotten families. By doing these things, I may hear Gods call to live a life that will let me love as only I can, and allow me to serve others with the special gifts I have been given.
Today the sun is directly overhead shinning so brightly it’s almost unbearable.
When the sun is not shining, I know it’s still there. Just as I know God loves me even when I might not be feeling it.
Gods love was not on my mind a year ago. I was so trapped, not knowing which way to turn. Those that should have been helping me where not: I was left in an impossible situation.
Twelve months today I was reading “ From fear to love by Bryan Post” a love based approach to helping parent children that have been adopted or in care.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18
I wanted to find out more; just reading the bible passage as part of Bryan’s book that night did not seem enough.
I wanted to read it from the bible. Their was a strong need to want to try understand what was being said and why.
Reading a Bible verse more than once was something that I would not normally do. I read 1 John 4:18 over and over again that evening. Stopping to spend time researching the verse on the internet. Desperately trying to understand why love and fear cannot co exist.
Learning that some of us can be so afraid of love we push it away. I understood that if you feel Gods love you cannot be afraid . God will look after you.
Within hours I suddenly found myself home alone and very scared.
Someone else’s fear had shattered my life and those that I love where also destroyed.
God is so amazing giving me that one verse to hold onto. Curled up on the sofa: crying, rocking and shaking I was not angry only scared. I understood why it had happened.
Through my tears and uncontrollable shacking somehow I understood God was with me.
Sun rises: pray for the Miracle of Adotion.
In the U.K 4,000 children are waiting for adotion.
I pledge to pray for families; children in the care system and those involved in adoption.
When I first read on the “Thy Kingdom Come” website find some extreme places to pray and film yourselves doing it. I thought of all the beautiful places I could pray: high on a mountain, in a darkest cave, under water in the depth of the sea, riding my bike through the countryside.
When I read it again I realised that I can see God’s beauty and creation in all of these places.
But to others these are not places of beauty but are the extremes of their lives.
The forgotten families and children of our society, often out of sight and unnoticed.
Dear Giving God.
I thank you for the open hearted families that make adoption possible.
Pray for those children; waiting adoption, families waiting for children, the new adoptive and all families that have had their hearts touched by adoption.
Give them strength and perseverance to guide them though the good days and bad days.
Bless them with friends and families that can support them and understand their needs.
Pray for the birth mothers of these children; that they to are supported and shown love and compassion.
Adotion is never easy, each unique beautiful child is a gift from God.
Adoption in a miracle.
Day Thirty Four – Journey – lent challenge
Today I wanted to say thank you to all the people that have helped me on my journey to faith, encouraged me when I did not listen , prayed for me when I did not pray , nurtured the small beginnings and give me the encouragement to grow.
The first step in my journey was being baptised so thank you mum and dad for sorting that bit out.
Thank you for my wonderful grandmother, who filled my life with prayer and prayed with me and for me , the trips to the church yard to tend to the family graves and visits to the church .
Thank you to Mrs Howard for teaching me Psalm 23 , giving me a palm cross each year and showing so much excitement when she talked about her faith.
Thank you to United Reformed Sunday school where each week we would sing When the road is tough and step ( number 66 in the yellow Sing to God book, it’s strange what you remember).
I enjoyed sitting in the back room for bible studies where I would daydream out of the window at the workers on the allotments I am sure I was listening at the same time.
Massive thank you to Janet and John Perkins for reading Haffertee Hamster Dimond to us in church with Howl Owl and Haffertee , Stories of faith told though the eyes of a hamster, these books have given me and many children in my care great comfort over many many years.
Jump from age Age 10 to 43 with not much faith in my life, but all that time unbeknown to me I was building up an amazing foundation that I could build my faith on.
Thanks to Tina for seeing the little buds and helping them flower, for believing in me and supporting me though the good days and not so good days .
When I look back I am so grateful for all the people that prayed for me and pointed me softy in the right direction until I was ready myself to find God and change my life around .
Thank you to everyone I have meet on my journey so far and excited as I journey forwards.
Psalm 23Good News Translation (GNT)
The Lord Our Shepherd[a]
23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
2 He lets me rest in fields of green grass
and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.
3 He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths,
as he has promised.
4 Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
I will not be afraid, Lord,
for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.
5 You prepare a banquet for me,
where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honored guest
and fill my cup to the brim.
6 I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
and your house will be my home as long as I live.
Day Thirty One – Longing – Lent challenge
Could I share my ghosts with you?
Allow you to see my pain
I long for the ghosts to go away.
They always come back again.
They are buried in the garden.
Reminders here and there.
Of all the times we had together.
That are no longer there.
I find them when I am weeding.
Unearth them now and then.
They catch me out just buried there.
Time and time again.
Cars that once went broom broom.
Dolls that played a game.
Just left there in the mud
Never to be played with again.
I long to hear their voices
Hold their little hands.
See their smiling faces.
Playing in the sand.
Children that we foster.
Leave ghosts for us to find.
To remind us of their journey.
And remind us of our time.
We loved these people.
They taught us so much about life.
Love that freely given.
Love that heals the pain.
But when that bond is broken it hurts to love again.
Loving again is painful,
But that is what we do.
Gluing back the broken bits.
With love from me to you.
It’s time for us to walk away.
Let you lead your life.
Adoption is the miracle.
That has given you a new life.
1 Samuel 1:27 ( MSG) I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for