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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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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Someone Else’s Fear.

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.

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Trust.

I wanted to blog about trusting the wrong people. Why do I keep allowing myself to trust and then be so hurt?
The betrayal, the feeling of failure, for having trusted an untrustworthy person keeps happening to me. It raises questions about my judgment; I feel so used and gullible.
The people I trust keep hurting me. They are using my good nature for their own benefits. These are professional people working in the public sector that I keep believing. Believing they will do their job in the professional manner that I would expect.

I keep on praying for a way to forgive them. Wanting the negative energy that it generates to stop; pain to ease and the hurt to be a little less. Repeatedly broken trust that just never seems to get the chance to heal.

It’s hard to forgive when deep down you are no better: I told a very special little person they could trust me. I still cannot move on from the way I unintentionally caused them pain too. The pain of this haunts me every day. It’s a constant reminder of the hurt I caused.

Do the people that hurt me feel the same as I do? I would not wish this pain on them, the constant hurt and questions that go round in my head when I have an idle moment.

I know I will keep trusting and keep getting hurt but it’s the way God made me.
Sometimes I wonder if I am putting too much trust in the wrong people; these people don’t love me. It’s not in their hearts to want to help me. But God does and that’s why I put my trust in God.

Putting my trust in God means I am not alone. God knows me: my thoughts, my fears, my hopes, and dreams. God wants me to put all my confidence in him all the time in everything I do.

I don’t need to get to God through someone else; God is in my heart. I need to learn listen to his voice, the voice inside me that I can trust, the voice that will guide me, help me make decisions, and the voice that will teach me to forgive those I trusted that hurt me.

I still cannot forgive myself for hurting such a special person. I pray that she one day will forgive me, and learn to love and trust again.
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