I have a new phone.

I do! I have a new (well, a refurbished) phone. My old one had a line down one side where the U/I/J and N buttons were so they didn’t type. I either had to get predictive text to do the word for me, not type that particular word or turn the phone the other way and do it that way (not all apps let you do that). The thing is, it’s taken me a while for my brain and fingers to catch up that I have a new phone and that I don’t need to avoid those particular letters or manipulate my phone to write. My fingers automatically try to avoid them and I am very surprised when they write without any problems.

This made me think, this is what we’re like when we come to know God, through Jesus and on our journey with Him. We are born again, we are made new, but we still have reactions and ways that we often find ourselves falling back into. One of the main differences is that God doesn’t leave us like that and we tend to become more aware (through the Holy Spirit) of the wrong stuff/ways that we’re falling back into. But that imprint can be STRONG! but God is more, He is stronger, able to keep us, nudge us, work in us, change us, change our hearts, as long as we are willing to be changed and sometimes when we’re unwillingly willing haha. And like my fingers are gradually learning that all the keys on this phone work, I am learning that God gives me everything I need and I have no need to seek anything from any other source. I often want to, but I don’t actually need to. Just want to add in here that other christians can also help a lot, especially in pointing you to God and in loving you properly (and that involves truth telling too).

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given is ‘never doubt God’. He is God, He is in charge, His ways are higher than our ways, He knows what He is doing. So no matter what is going on, no matter how bad things look, no matter what! He is still good and we need to keep trusting Him and following Him. He will fill your heart with His love if you let Him, He will make you complete. I think there can be a bit of a tendency in some arenas to wonder where He is when things get difficult, or to expect him to solve things our way all the time, but I can tell you He is there and He is the one who will get you through absolutely anything, simply by just being there and being God.

Just think for a minute about the disciples, where they ended up. What their lives became and how they lived them. I don’t think they planned any of that or even had an inkling of what was ahead whilst Jesus was even still physically with them. He turned their lives upside down and inside out. As far as I’m aware, from Acts onwards, all apart from one were martyred. Now, this dawned on me yesterday.. why do we expect to just have lovely, planned lives when we follow that same Jesus? Do we really wish for His will to be done? Or just our will to be done? Our lives could be changed like theirs were, in a flash! Now that’s always a thinking point. It is for me anyway. Sort of helps with perspectives too.

Life is more than what we see. It is eternal. It is so much deeper and more beautiful than anything we can possibly imagine.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
    be gracious to me and answer me!
 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, do I seek.
     Do not hide your face from me.

(Psalm 27:7-9)

I think I’m going to write again, it’s only been a month…

I feel like writing again, so I’m a going to write. It’s been a month since the last one, is that enough of a break?

I’m not sure what’s happened since the last ones, apart from we are emerging from lockdown, sort of. Chris has been back at work for ages and it almost feels like he was never off! We’re into what Ireland is calling phase 3, phase 4 has been delayed, I think that was opening the pubs (the ones that serve food are already open) and having larger indoor/outdoor gatherings etc.

It feels mighty weird to me at the moment, I mean, if it’s just you, I suppose you can go out and go into shops and around and about more easily, but with young children it isn’t that simple. They run about and touch things and the youngest definitely does not and should not be expected to understand any distancing. Plus, I know we can go to parks etc now, but I’m not sure how comfortable I am with that at the moment. Because on the one hand you’ve got encouragement to go out, wearing masks if you’re going shopping etc, but on the other hand, we’re still being told to limit contacts and keep local, but we can also go anywhere in Ireland if we want to. I suppose we’ll just have to decide what’s acceptable to us and stick with that, but it’s obviously not always easy with other people around either who have different ideas.

Getting that balance between what’s right and not just retreating because of fear is somewhat difficult I find. There doesn’t really need to be a rush with us either, because I don’t work outside the home, so I don’t think staying home for a while longer will hurt much, or just going out for walks etc.

We aren’t part of a local church yet, despite me being told that apparently we’re going to one in Manorhamilton (we aren’t), but we will be part of one soon. More on that, when it’s appropriate. I’m still taking part in the online church meetings which Church in the Peak in Matlock are still doing at the moment.

The chickens are getting huge! They run to see you when you walk up (they don’t like being picked up though). I keep hoping I’m wrong but I can’t help noticing that 2 or 3 of them now look as if they may be cockerels, I’m still hoping they aren’t, we really wanted more than 2 hens. By September we will know I would think. I’m going soft, and I’ve grown a little attached, I really don’t want to kill them if they are cockerels. I will, if I need to, but I don’t want to.

So! A little scripture to end on. I can’t help noticing that there’s a lot of ‘rights’ talk about at the moment. Whilst I don’t actually know the scripture that says ‘stick up for your Christian rights at all costs’, there’s actually more about looking after others who are vulnerable rather than shouting about our rights, this is pretty cool and very against the grain. Matthew 5:38-42.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

and it goes on to say about loving and praying for your enemies…Read it, it’s good!

Jesus is so heart wrenchingly good….and clear…and against the general worldly grain. I forget this stuff sometimes and then realise again and it’s like a gush of pure, unadulterated God love.

So hello and goodbye. I will write again soon.

Cathy.