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.
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.
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.
My battle to stay strong has almost reached my limit: Feeling so tired, drained, week and unmotivated .
My marriage is full of fear with love fighting so hard stay in our lives, worried and scared we will not recover.
Reading the Psalms has brought me so much comfort . I read Psalm 62 for the first time today. Struck by the amazing power of the words and how loudly they spoke to me. Repeatedly listening and reading it has helped me, given me strength when all I can see is dead ends .
I am exhausted, my soul finds rest in God. He is my rock and my salvation. I trust and love God in a way I never thought was possible.
God hears my every prayer, the storm that’s in our lives has not gone away. It’s just died down for a while, it’s due back in January.
I pray when it comes back we will be prepared for it. When it return’s may the winds be softer, may we see blue skies among the dark clouds, even a little sunshine in the darkness to guide us .
.Most weeks I go to church and sit beside my mum knowing my lovely husband is at home in bed to scarred to face the word. To afraid and full of grief and anger to sit beside me.
Couples come to hear their marriage bands being read excited about a future together. Others celebrate wedding anniversaries and an elderly gentleman pushes his wife into the church and holds her hand throughout the service and cares for her with love and dedication. I remember the vows we made in front of God. We promised to love each other for better for worse, for richer for poorer and in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.
This morning we went to church together as husband and wife. Holding hands and worshiping before God together was beautiful
Living with depression means getting up each morning is a victory, life is an effort. I need to encourage him in everything he does and try and boast his confidence, so today when the Clip below was played in the service it spoke to both of us.
Yes we can.
Yes we can get up and go out.
Yes we can cry in church and no one judges only cares.
Yes we can remain strong in our love for each other and our faith.
YES we can follow Jesus and devote or lives to him.
Today I followed Jesus full of love and holding my husband’s hand.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.