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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Thank you Mister God for rest .

Day Thirty – Retreat – Lent challenge .

Mister God  this is Anna brought me to tears , it’s a moving beautiful true story about a runaway little girl and the young man who brought her home like a stray puppy in the 1930s. It’s about faith  love and friendship and Mister God, and all the things Anna taught Fynn before she died, and one or two things she taught him after.

I want to share my favourite bit of the book with you it just reminds me that I need to rest and  give my brain time to untangle the muddle and recharge .

Mum had this lovely gift of asking questions that landed somewhere .
what , she asked us one Sunday afternoon ” What was God’s greatest creative act?”
Anna was watching her intently in chin cupped in hands . There they sat , looking at each other , Mum with her wonderful smile and Anna with her intense look.
Suddenly it happened . Anna slowly placed her hands on the table and pushed herself upright . She gasped ” it was the seventh day of course ”
I don’t get it, I said . ” God worked all his miracles in six days and than shut down for a bit of a rest . What’s so exciting about that ?
“Why did Mister God rest on the seventh day ? “She began.
“I supposed was a bit flaked out after six days hard work” , I answered .
” He didn’t Rest because he was tired though.”
“Oh – didn’t he ?it makes me tired just to think about it all ”
” course he didn’t . He wasn’t tired .”
“Wasn’t he?”
” No – he made Rest.”
” Oh .He did that did he?”
” yes that’s the biggest miracle. Rest is . What do you think it was like before Mister God started the first day ?”
“A perishing muddle I guess”. I replied .
” yes, and you can’t rest when everything is in a big muddle , can you?”

My place to retreat / rest is my garden it’s  a quiet outdoor space where I found God  and feel his presence , it’s a place to reflect,  appreciate the silence the beauty and the spiritual  feeling my garden brings to me and to others .

Thank you Mister God for rest .

Mark   6:31 Come with me  by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

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The less we look with our eyes – the more we will see.

Day 23- lose – lent challenge 

Everything has a home, the keys live in the top draw of the telephone table , my bike lock lives in the basket of my bike.
The dog lead belongs in the draw with all the dog stuff, and the tv remote control lives on the shelf under the telly.
All these things have a home a place to keep them, so I and others know where they are.
So why can’t I find any of them when I need them, it’s because I don’t put them away in the right place.
It’s frustrating for me and even more frustrating for my husband as I all seem to do is look for things I have not put away , it’s a good job I can call my phone or I would be constantly looking for that ( this does cause problems if I put it on silent ).

For someone that looses everything, how did I find my faith and allow god to be part of my life.
When I look for my keys I run around using my eyes trying to remember the last time I had them , God has always been with me never lost , just waiting patiently for me to work it out .
Instead of running around, I stopped and kneeled closed my eyes and looked with my heart and prayed .

Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

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Breathed life into us.

Day seventeen – Breath – lent challenge 

Where where not created but formed form dust of the earth , Something as simple dust and basic as dust , we where not made from gold or silver , we are made from dust and god breathed life into us.

It makes me smile , dust nothing more nothing less than dust , what makes it amazing is gods breath that breathed life into us. So we are earth and god, I love the thought of being nothing more than dust and when we die returning to dust ,
We should be grounded deeply connected with our planet living growing in soil/ dust that we created from yet we pollute and damage our fragile land.
Living in a way that honours rather than threatens our planet is living as a god wanted us to live we are responsible to cultivate and care for the earth protect it and respect our natural environment, and to show respect for and solidarity with, all the members of our human family.
We need to love our planet and as Christians should be at the forefront of the environmental issues and care for Creation and to show our love for the Creator.”

Genesis 2:7 , “The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

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Hospitality is love

Day sixteen  – lent challenge – Hospitality 

Entering a church opening the old doors gives feels me with wonder , what’s inside what will it feel like , walking into church feeling the spirituality of it, the high ceilings that call you to look upwards , the silence and stillness, escaping form the hustle and bustle of the modern world. I place to pray and ponder to be alone but not be alone .
I recently visited a church that seemed to be more about the brand of coffee it was serving than about a place a worship.
It was a place of high tech audio equipment , screens on every pillar, microphones, drum kits, computers and open plan offices and a coffee shop, looking upward the eye was drawn to the cables weaving their way in and out of the pillars.
Coffee was served with a smile and brought to the table but where was god ??
I found myself trying to pray trying to connect with something anything but nothing was their the experience was cold and in need of love, god was missing.

Hospitality is so much more than a branded cup of coffee, hospitality is love , god is love , the lady’s that make coffee each week in our church and at church events are gifted in conversation welcoming smiling , washing up, working in the back ground often unseen but so very valued, they don’t sell a branded coffee , they share and show what it is to be loved by god.

Perhaps this is the moment you were created for” Esther 4:14.

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Waiting Transforms Our Character

Day Fifteen –  lentchallenge – wait 
I don’t have my life map, I have at times no idea where I am going , one thing that I am learning my life map is not completely mine, when I choose to ignore my Christian beliefs and map out my own path I change the course and stop following my life map god has planned for me.
It’s a bit like taking short cuts cheating on a diet , you don’t gain in the long term just make the journey longer and often more painful these little detours that we make on our journey are what transforms our characters make us who we are.
Life is a journey and it’s not about reaching the destination it’s what we do to get to that destination, waiting for the right direction at the right time .
I often question why I waited so long to see what was right in front of me, why I was so blind to gods amazing love for so many years .
But all the years god was with me watching waiting for me to discover what was right in front of my own eyes – god was transforming me patiently waiting for me to open my heart and mind to the world I know now and am trying to understand.
A world in which we are loved unconditionally , a world that individuals can make a difference and a world in which we are never alone . that’s got to be worth waiting for.

Luke 12:27 Good News Translation (GNT)

27 Look how the wild flowers grow: they don’t work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. 28 It is God who clothes the wild grass—grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t he be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have!

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Prayer keeps God At The Centre Of All I Do.

Its difficult to find time for myself, but I have managed to find a whole day to pray and be with my thoughts. Lots of questions and a lot of deep pain that I need to talk to God about.
A day to myself pjs, fluffy blankets and heating on, time just for me and time to pray, my time.
I watched a film, read, worked, made cakes ,prayed and talked to God.
I cried a lot but as the day went on. I felt stronger and more capable of what I was asking God.
The question that was in my mind was already answered before the day started. Deep down I had the answer, but having given the time to Pray it, I was sure it was the right choice. It was not a easy choice: but it’s right thing to do.
Long term it creates more hardship but it’s a step closer to living a life with God and being able to give time to prayer and others

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.”

Romans 12:1-2 MSG

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