Day Six – Lent Challenge 2018 – Listen.

Today’s Lent challenge word is listen. Trying to pinpoint one person for the word listen was a lot harder than I thought.
Running this morning I asked myself what gives me that buzz of excitement every time I hear it?
It’s the dawn chorus.
So this blog is a thank you to the person that took a teenage me out very very early one spring morning to listen to my first dawn chorus. Sitting in darkness we waited for the moment the first bird sang.
It’s as magical then as it is today. It’s that explosion of airborne joy. You can hear the Robin, Blackbird and sparrow so clearly. Yet they remain invisible in the twilight of the morning.

The teenage me just heard birdsong. The difference is today when I get up early and sit quietly in the darkened woods I listen to God.

Its one of the few times and places I can be really still. Stillness in the presence of our Lord. Stillness in the anticipation of a new day that’s about to dawn. God speaks out of the silence. It’s not just silence, it’s stillness full of positive energy and life. A sacred space where I can just be. A space that God speaks his word.
It’s as if everything is on hold in this silent place the atmosphere is charged: than the first bird sings.
This little oasis of creation speaks and rejoices in the new day.
Imagine if we equally rejoiced in the new day shouted it out “We are loved” Our voices were beautifully in tune with creation. Our message being heard above the chatter of our busy lives around us.
Take the time listen for yourself Dawn tomorrow is at 05.22 ( full darkness ends).

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Psalm 5:3 Good News Translation (GNT)
you hear my voice in the morning;
at sunrise I offer my prayer[a]
and wait for your answer.

 

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Day Five – Lent Challenge 2018 – Receive.

Today’s Lent challenge word is “receive and I chose to share and say thank you a wonderful person  that has helped me in many ways. This Person helped me realise it’s ok to receive/ask for help.
When life gets tough it’s easy to pretend everything is fine. Pull away from those that we love and quietly fall apart.
I used to think “ I can do this on my on my own”. Why would burden and expose others to my pain? Why share the pain? It seemed selfish to offload my pain onto others.

The reality has God created us with a need for help. Asking for help isn’t admitting failure or a sign of weakness. It’s recognising the way God made us.
This means our need for help is not shameful, or equal to failure. God built into us a need for help from the very beginning.
Learning to reach out to others has given me the strength.  It’s ok to receive help and admit the truth that I cannot do this alone. I can turn to my friends. I can cry out to God.
I can ask for help and prayers. In doing so I have formed friendships and realised their is strength is asking for help.
We are week unable to survive alone. God is strong and with his grace and help, we can do what might seem impossible.
So Thank You for helping me break the isolation of thinking I can do this on my own.

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Galatians 6:2 Good News Translation (GNT)

 Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.

Day One – Lent Challnge 2018 – Learn.

My maternal grandmother taught me so much. Spending a lot of my teenage years with this old little prayerful lady was a gift.
A priceless gift that I am only just starting to see it’s true value .
She taught me respect.
I respected her values even if it did not understand them or believe in them.
She taught me to thank God every day. Before we ate she said grace thanking God for the meal we ate together. I respected this.
Before I went to bed she would request we pray for others. I respected this .
The teenage me learnt that my Grandmother valued prayer.
The adult me has been gifted with a teacher that taught me to pray. Showed me the value and power of intercession prayer. She taught me that you don’t stop praying when things get tough. You pray more.
I have so much respect for this little old lady that would pray for hours.
She prayed for those she loved, She prayed for those she did not, She prayed for those that were hurting in the world.
Pray often left her exhausted and emotional but she never stoped .
So my first blog for lent 2018 is to Granny – Thank you for teaching me how to pray. Thank you for praying for me.
I have a funny feeling you knew God would catch up with me in the end.
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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 The Message (MSG)

16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

Time For A Rethink .

lent 2017  I challenged myself to blog every day. The theme of each blog was inspired by a word from the bible societies lent challenge.  Here’s the link to my posts, in case you want to know more about what I got up to last year.

Writing 40 blogs helped me to form a deeper relationship with God. Allowed me time to hear that I am being called. I want others to feel that love too. I need to find a way to push myself to tell others the Good news “ We are loved “. unconditionally always and forever.
Its the new life that comes with this beautiful love that I want to give to others. I want my actions to show that Gods love is real and has no limits.

Lent 2018 I set myself  an outside challenge  walking with friends and family. Prayer walks and social walks, walking  with those  that  I often don’t spend enough time with . I planned to walk at least 40 miles a week  with as many different people as possible.

Feeling confident and ready, a list of fellow walkers drafted  up. All I needed was fine weather.
Not sure  we  are ever ready for  the challenges that life brings to us. I certainly was feeling confident in my challenge . Excited about the  conversations / prayers that we would might share as we walked and journey  together over  the next 40 days .

Today  walking is very far from my mind. Battered and bruised and feeling the full effects of  gravity doing what it does best.  A high temperature caused me to lose consciousness.
Gravity took me to the shortest route to the floor. This route would have been straightforward were it for the obstacles in the way which in my unconscious state I hit before  landing in the most undignified heap .
The  planning has rather gone astray but nursing my soreness the last few days I have been drawn to  last years lent journey and how important it was to me.
I have been thinking about all the people that have challenged, changed  and influenced my life.
How we often forget to say thank you to them.
So with a  total  change of plan lent 2018 I will once agin be  blogging on   a given word for the day set by the  Bible society
I will be reflecting  on the people that have shaped and changed my life.

Each blog will be accompanied by image not of the person but my visualization of them . Although similar to last years challenge its still an exciting enriching time and I’m looking forward to this journey with the joy of anticipation that it will bring.

Hoping in time to get some walking in too.

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John 8:12  When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

My Last Blog For Lent.

Day Fourty – Recieve – Lent Challenge.

This is my last blog for lent, blog number 40/40.
The last 40 days has seen me reading my Bible more and more. Trying to understand myself and the journey I am on and how it all connects to the Bible.
I read my Bible in many forms on my iPad, audio books, Good News Bible (which I received when I got confirmed ). My most treasured Bible belonged to my Grandfather. He died before I was born. Issued to him in Word War Two this pocket size little New Testament Bible made from light weight Indian paper. It was designed to be carried on the left pocket of the soldier’s jacket over his heart. Published by the Naval and Military Bible Society this Bible is a connection to the Grandfather a that I never had.
The Bible has a couple of pages with the corners turned. I want to share with you the verse on one page that has a turned corner.
Reading and typing this I am reading the same words as my Grandfather did back in World War Two.

John 12:24-25
24.Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die; it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringth forth much fruit.
25. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

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God Understands My Pain.

Day Thirty Nine – Give – Lent Challenge.

14/04/2014
Three years ago today I said goodbye to my foster son. The little boy that I had loved and cared for the last two and half years was moving to his forever adoptive family. I loved him enough to say goodbye. My love for him allowed me to let him go, allowed him to start a new life in his adoptive family .

14/04/2014
Three years ago today I prayed for the strength to say goodbye to my son. I prayed for the first time in my life I cried out to God. Through the tears and pain I felt the presence of God. My strength that morning came from God and allowed me to let go of my little boy’s hand.

Good Friday 2014

Four days had passed since I drove of the drive at home with my little boy.
Spending time settling him in to his new home was challenging and emotional and came back home the day before Good Friday totally exhausted.
Good Friday 2014 was the first day without my little boy, the first morning in over 2.5 years I was not greeted by his smiling face.
Sitting at home full of grief was not the way I wanted to spend Easter, so at the suggestion of my mum we attended the church car wash in the local Homebase car park .
So full of grief I did not want to make eye contact with anyone, so full of grief I could not care if my car was clean or dirty. I remember just wanting the world to swallow me up.
I stoped all conversation with those that tried to make it, smiled politely and just wanted to leave .
A family friend that had lost a son was washing cars and spoke to us. She understood our pain and smiled and gave a hug, it never made it better, it never took away the pain. It gave me some sort of hope that we would be able to survive this.

Today -14/04/2017- Good Friday

Today is Good Friday – the day Jesus was crucified on the cross for us. He carried our pain and suffered our punishment willingly. Jesus doesn’t avoid suffering he does not avoid death, The woman that stayed with him at the foot of the cross did not avoid grief and pain. He could have stopped it, but he didn’t because he loved us so much.
Our sins were nailed to that cross forever. This is only possible because of Jesus and because of love.

Today is a day for reflection, some quiet time and prayer time.
Time to try and take in the scale of Good Friday and what it means, look back over my own life and these past three years.

John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

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Deliver.

Day Thirty Eight – Deliver -Lent Challenge.

I loved my job as a post lady, spending time outside delivering letters and parcels to the same group of houses for over two year. During that time I got to know all my houses and all my people. I knew the names of their children, the schools they went to, where they went on holiday, when they were on holiday, those that had speeding tickets, birthdays, anniversaries. I delivered cards congratulating on a new baby. I delivered sympathy cards, love letters, passports and premium bond wins .

Each person known by their front door and by name, I very rarely saw the person behind the door.
That’s not unlike my non existent relationship with God that I used to have ( before 2014 ). I had no idea he knew everything about me. I just bumbled along my life totally unaware that God was with me. I used to question and wonder how there could even possibly be a God in a world of so much pain.
I just could not see it myself, but he was waiting for that day I opened my heart to him. I still find this totally amazing.

I used to find it very strange that God knows me so well, even a little uneasy about it all .
God knew that I did not believe in him, knew that I could not understand why others believed.
He knows my thoughts and understands my pain. When I behave in a way that I should not he is still there. I now find it a comfort, a reassurance that what ever happens in my life I will never again be alone, never be in a dark place with no way out.

Psalm 147:3-5Good News Translation

He heals the broken-hearted
and bandages their wounds.

He has decided the number of the stars
and calls each one by name.

Great and mighty is our Lord;
his wisdom cannot be measured.

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