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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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

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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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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Glitter Hug’s

Once a year I reach into the back of my wardrobe to find  my best  rainbow-coloured clothes. Next comes the make – up which  includes painted flowers, rainbows , glitter, all perfect for spending the  afternoon at our local pride festival.
It’s a glittering festival  celebrating and demonstrating the wonderful diversity of love .  I spent  time  with a very unique inspiring friend ; catching up on his year and wishing we did not leave it so long before meeting up.
Most importantly we had a lot of fun: dancing,  eating,  partying , soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the free hugs and love that you only get at Pride.
When we could dance no more, we exchanged glitter-laden hugs, laughed the way our painted faces left impressions on each other and we went our separate ways.
Both knowing despite good intentions it would be another year before we meet up again.
Seeking a coffee I found myself sat in the  peaceful Cathedral gardens; in the distance the Pride festival was still filling the air with music.
The week’s troubles and questions soon filled the quiet spaces and the dark cloud that has been with me all week slowly started to return.
Exiting the Cathedral via the gift shop, I treated myself to a copy of “The Message”. Instead of following the exit signs, I retraced my steps,  sitting  in the cathedral to have a very quick read of my new purchase.
The clouds started to lose their darkness ; questions that had no answers had light and hope.
Sitting on my own I was reading one of Peter’s letters’  in a busy Cathedral on a Saturday afternoon I was totally obvious to time and people ;  other than the presence of God which I felt so strongly.
Reading and praying caused lots of tears to form and as they ran they picked up the glitter and colours from my painted face and dropped multi-coloured glitter tears on my lap leaving rainbow marks on the pages of my new book.
Picking up my bag, smearing rainbow tears over my face I joined the congregation for choral  Evensong.
Evensong that Saturday was also a celebration;  a special wedding anniversary was being blessed at the service.
Sat with the wedding guests , I looked like a over-excited 40 year old having some sort of rainbow midlife crisis.
I was reminded why Pride is so important, working to ensure individuals and organisations can all be united by love.
Gods loves  us regardless of gender or sexuality, we are loved and made by God our Father.  For me the rainbow is a beautiful reminder that God is merciful and made a covenant of grace that he would never again judge with a worldwide Flood.

Leaving  the Cathedral  I felt like a multi-coloured rainbow full of life and energy and wanting to share my love.

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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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The Space Between Two Words.

For a while have I been trying to blog about the day I sat with my beautiful friend who was terminally ill with cancer.
I just could not find the words, so wrote this poem. It’s about the day we spent  together waiting for two callers.
First was the vet coming  to put my friend’s dog to sleep. A faithful old dog that was entering the end of her life. Cancer was eating her up at an alarming rate and she was suffering.
We made the decision that I could not look after two old ladies with cancer so Lucy was put to sleep with love and dignity. She died in our arms with the people she loved.
Hours later the ambulance came to take my friend to a hospice. A wonderful place full of compassionate staff. My friend slowly died over the next 6 weeks.
There are no words  to express how we both felt that day only silence between two friends.

The space between two words

Silence whirls and settles on the sofa.
Exhausted words filling every space.
Heartbroken words too afraid to form.
Locked up words that want to stamp and rage.
Unspoken painful truthful words.
Will it ever be the right time?
To say what’s on my mind.
Silence is the only word that remains.

Love and silence fills every space.
Salt-laced words that drip and run.
Words that can only be shed.
Splashing  overflowing  emotions that puddle and soothe.
Trying to tell each other that we both understand.
Wanting to shout out “Why?”.
Wanting to say, “Please don’t die.”

Memories marching though our minds:
Evenings on the sofa, tea and chatter
Like nothing mattered.
Mutual thinking, simultaneous laughter.
Parallel thoughts unite our pain.
Overflowing , overpowering unwanted grief.
Mourning, journeying, our eyes meet.

Eyes that tell our stories.
Eyes that do not lie.
Sandpaper exhausted eyes from late nights, early mornings.
Nursing my dying friend.
Her eyes old  and fading.
Tired  and cloudy near the end.
Observing eyes leaking painful tears.
Avoiding each other as it hurts to see
Just how much pain is inside you and me.

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