Your Bedroom Is A Mess.

Bishop Rachel has written a letter to her 20 year old self as part  of Gloucestershire’s Live’s – Letters to my younger self series – http://bit.ly/2xyMYy8

It’s got me thinking what would I say to the 20 year old me.

Dear Me.
You are 20 with a head full of dreams and daydreams.
You work at the local Dogs and cats home. The suffering you see every day in the eyes of the animals you care for angers and frustrates you. You start to Question the way we live, campaigning and caring for the environment.
Most evenings you take your work home with you. Hand rearing orphaned animals that require round the clock attention.
Working full time not often getting a full nights sleep does not sound much of a fun filled life for 20 year old but I know you love it and thrive on it.
Living at home your meals are cooked for you, your washing is done for you. Your parents are so very tolerant of you clearing up the trail of mess you and your animals leave behind. Please don’t take them for granted a thank you would not go a miss.
Your bedroom is a mess and I know you think otherwise, but honesty it is.
You need to try and be a little more tidy and considerate and understanding to your family and friends .They can’t see what you do; they find it hard to understand why you spend all your time and money looking after animals.
You will spend a lot of your life doing things a little different from others don’t worry about it, embrace it follow your heart.

What’s important you at 20 never really changes. Your love to help those in need and serve your community grows with you and matures as you do.
You are scared of the simplest of things, the word dyslexic is not familiar to you; but it will be . Its not a reason to hold back, don’t use it as an excuse not to do something , it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Embrace this way of thinking as a gift from God.
Shyness gets better you will have to trust me on this and push yourself every day you can’t stay hidden.

Your sister: you may not think you have anything in common with your sister but you do. Try to understand that being different is ok she just does not understand your love for animals just as you don’t understand her love for Jesus.
I want to tell you so much, but it’s in the finding out that makes you grow into the person we have become. I will tell you pain shapes you and changes you in ways you can never imagine.
Learn to listen with your heart , embrace creation hold onto what you have. Having just one is enough and a blessing.

I want you to know that life is an adventure and that after pain comes joy. One day when you least expect you will learn to open your heart to Jesus. Don’t be scared it’s real and will change your life forever.
Embrace these changes but be gentle to those that surround and love you. Remember they have not yet seen what you have, be patient and trust that things will come right.
The experiences that you go through cannot be told to you, they are your future and it’s not for me to tell you , but a few things I think you should know.
You will meet the man of your dreams he is a good man and loves you. Marriage is not easy, stay with it and never go to bed on a argument even if it means staying chatting until 4 am.
I have one regret that would be easily rectified ( many that cannot ) . Uncle Norman: one day he will need you to make a very important decision for him. Be assured you made the right one no regrets their . Just Stay with him for the next hour afterwards he needs you. Sarah can drive your car home you need to spend time with him it’s important.
My final thing to say to you; stay true to the inner you, smile, laugh embrace creation . God loves you and one day you will feel that love too.
Your have an amazing life ahead of you surrounded by friends and family that love you.
Have fun.

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Growing From World To Word.

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)

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.”

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Consumerism to love

Struggling today with work that’s nothing new for me, but today it seems the calling from God to be elsewhere is far bigger than my mind can deal with.
The trouble is my work involves consumerism. vast amounts of money spent on products that give pleasure and joy for a few days and then end up in landfill.
The more God becomes my life: selling disposable products and cashing in on Christmas seems so wrong.
The life I have today is not the life I want to live. Living in a world of consumerism when I want to live in a world of God and love.
Spending my working day posting out parcels of that damage creation, when I am called to spend my time with Gods people.
Walking away from my business of 17 years is the next step leaving behind consumerism. and going to love.
I no longer belong here and pray that God will show me the way to lock the door at work behind me and step out with him and journey with the people that are often forgotten and bring them to faith and love.

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God Tears.

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.

Transformed

You Can Do This.

My blogging has been quiet for a while, I have not stopped writing just not blogging . Expressing myself in other ways has given me less time to blog . Writing a prayer diary each evening has become a part of my daily routine. It’s a colourful private place full of drawings thoughts feelings and prayers.
I have also been studying with the spurgeons college . The study skills course is a non qualification course learning to write essays and improve my writing skills all focused around the New Testament . It’s great place to learn and equip myself for future learning .
Why the studying ?
God is calling me ; sending me in different direction and it’s confusing . I can’t yet blog about it as I can’t make sense of it in my own head let alone put pen to paper.
I think I know what’s going on and where I might be going , but it does all seem a little impossible and at the same time exciting and a tiny bit possible.
Today with the text books left at home I learnt so much; I am buzzing inside. Excited and yet again amazed by how God just does amazing things.
Today we ( me and my hubby ) visited a local church . A beautiful church build in the 1930’s only about 11 miles from my home. The church was as beautiful on outside as it was inside. It’s located in a area of social housing and completely different area to the church I regularly attend.
When We walked in instantly I loved it and felt as if God was saying to me these are the people I want you to work with, pray with and be alongside them as the journey through life.
Today the people in this beautiful diverse little church gave me the confidence to follow what God is asking of me.
The congregation were so excited to see us and welcome us to their church. Keen to make us welcome in a beautiful genuine way.
Their faith seemed earthy and very connected to each other and the space around them.
The Pianist was truly amazing, at the start of the service she took it upon herself to preach from the pulpit and reminded us to use the gifts given to us by God. Their was no hiding her gift and she certainly practised what she preached. Gods loved flowed from her fingers to the piano in the music she played. With a mysterious grin she added a honky tonk feel to the hymns . Deliberately slowing the music down and than speeding us up.  Everyone just sang and smiled.
This small diverse congregation each gave something to the service , a warm welcome, making the coffee, entertaining the children , giving out notice sheets and reading the prayers .
The visiting clergy taking the service just went with the flow as we all worshiped and prayed together in a jumbled way.
And I for the first time I said to myself “ You can do this” I am being called to these people.
I felt blessed and privileged to be with them today, hearing their stories and sharing coffee and a biscuit with them.

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Just Like Jonathan.

Soaking up the sunshine at our local swimming pool, I was reminded of a younger me sat on the same spot enjoying the sun reading “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”by Richard Bach.
It’s about a very independent seagull, who dared to question what was being told to him. He didn’t just want to spend his time searching for food and hanging out doing what was expected of him; he was different and dared to dream.

The book was gifted to me by an elderly gentleman that I met one day at work. I was young and just doing my job admittedly with my own spin on things. For me it was my job; for him it was a very difficult day . A few weeks later he came to work again, asked for me by name and gave me “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” and suggested I read it .
I have often wondered why this stranger went to the trouble of getting the book to me. Did he see something in me that others did not? Or was I already at 18 flying in a different direction than my peers?

I remember reading it and the excitement of pushing personal boundaries, opening myself to a world I had yet to discover. It made me realise that it is okay to be different and not do what everyone else does, just because you are supposed to.
The excitement of spreading my wings and flying in my own direction stayed with me . It all seemed so very possible aged 18.
The book taught me to share what you have inside, but always to remain true to yourself and to keep working on Love .

I have just read the book again. Enjoyed it as much as the first time but seeing so much more in the story, than a lone gull that wanted to reach out and change his flock.

It’s is about each and every one of us. Reminding me it’s ok to refuse to conform for the sake of conforming. To find things out for myself ,make up my own mind. It’s a story of love, forgiveness and how to reach our full potential. The most powerful force that exists, is that of belief especially in ourselves.

It’s so hard in our world to stand up for what I believe in. Walk away from the crowd and do my own thing .
It’s even harder to tell others about what’s inside me and how beautiful and amazing God’s love is.
Wanting them to feel it too, just as Jonathon wanted the other gulls to see their was more to life than eating and fighting over food.
This last fortnight seems to be full of the same message. My random bible readings have all been about moving out of my comfort zone and pushing myself. The blogs I have read, the films watched all seem to be about individuals being themselves and telling others what’s inside them.

It does all sound a little scary. I need to push past that and allow others to see the sunshine in me.
The sunshine that is the Holy Spirit working , leading and guiding me on a journey .
A journey that may involve meeting people that might not be interested in my story and turn away from me.
A journey that is calling me to take the next brave step into the unknown and beyond. Just like Jonathon it’s a journey of transformation. But unlike Jonathon I have an overwhelming desire for others to have Jesus in their lives too.

Romans 12:2The Message (MSG)
Place Your Life Before God
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.

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Why I said “I do” again?

The reasons why I wanted to say “I do” again.

My dad escorted me down the aisle of our parish church, to marry the man of my dreams. Surrounded by friends and  family we said our vows to each other with love and meaning.
We were young, and very much head over heels in love. We are still very much in love. It’s a different love today; a love that has matured and developed with age. A  love that has been battered and bruised, a deep rooted love.

So why do it again?

I wanted to say the words with God in my heart . I wanted to stand at the altar and feel the words.  Not just say them – actually feel them .
God was not a part of my life when we got married .We exchanged our wedding vows, knelt for the prayers. The vows were exchanged with love, thought and meaning . The prayers  were said but only as words not with meaning.
Renewing our vows gave us the opportunity to  pray together as a couple. Holding hands, kneeling in prayer together, with a deep understanding that not only do we love each other, but God loves us too.
We made a promise before God with our friends and family 24 years ago and we affirmed that promise again and celebrated  our love for each other.

So why do it again ?

I wanted to show my love to my amazing man. Not just say “I love you” , I wanted him  to know how much  I love him. For him to understand  that I  married him for richer for poorer, for better for worse, and in sickness and in health .
These last 12 months we have been living the reality of vows we made to each other on our wedding day. We have felt poor both  financially and in life. The dark cloud of depression has shown us how  hard life can be living together during times of sickness. We have seen some of the worse days of  our lives.
I have prayed that we both had the strength to see us through the dark days. The days when depression and anger were all consuming.
The poor days have taught us how rich and beautiful the life we have together is .
It’s time to be thankful  for all that we have, learn to  accept our losses and move forward together with love.

Why I said “I do” again?

It was time to move forward with our lives; allow the wounds to heal.
We have been surrounded by love these last 12 months. Supported  by friends and family that have had little understanding as to why our lives fell apart.
They have not asked questions, just held us in love and walked us though our grief and pain.
Depression has left its scars but we are loved so much . I wanted to show my husband this amazing love and for him to see it with his own eyes.

Though prayer and love, God  has given me back the man I married.  A little older and balder but that sweet hearted funny man that I love is still there . He is shining and  I am feeling the warmth of his sunshine.
Life is not perfect. I  have been embracing each moment. Listening to the beautiful things he says and treasuring our time together as we are never sure what tomorrow will bring.

 

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