Lost but not lost.

I feel a bit lost at the moment. I don’t really know how to describe it. I’m ok, but then also not. I have moments where I’m excited and happy and even on a level, but then moments where I cry and mourn. For so many reasons, it’s been hard coming here. I was excited and it is good but then things happened, we were suddenly on our own, dad died and then I was hit by grief, homesickness and regrets about not being there and not getting back in time and other things. Adjusting to a new place and meeting your own doubts and feelings of inadequacy can be hard too. Getting past it is also hard, but doable. We all seem to have this image of going somewhere and it’ll be ‘great’ and what we always wanted and of doing great things, but in practice it’s actually harder work than that. There is nothing wrong with hard work, but like it says..it can be hard..

There’s so much to do here, Chris is out at work a lot, I find myself not doing much in the house sometimes because I don’t know ‘what’ to do. It’s difficult to clean because of the amount of stuff stacked and I also don’t actually have much inclination, because I also have to make sure the children are safe in the house whilst I’m doing it, keeping track of a 2 year old whilst you’re hoovering upstairs is actually not that easy. And combined with a 4 year old, I often start doing things and then don’t complete them or end up leaving things around because I’ve dived off to deal with something else.. Most parents will probably identify. I am actually ok with this, I love being with the kids, but it’s adjusting to what is actually possible which is sometimes frustrating and an ongoing process.

Also, there’s practical things like – how long will the oil last for the heating? can we afford to have it filled? (we actually can at the moment). Am I giving the children enough attention? What are we to do about the trees? When are we supposed to do this or that? What if this? What if that? haha. How am I supposed to structure our days? Are they warm enough at night? Are they watching too much TV? Am I actually giving proper attention? When am I supposed to have time with God? Have we got milk? (the nearest corner shop is a couple of miles away). where is everything???(we put things down and they go missing at the moment, I think because there’s stuff everywhere). This is also all part of our learning I think, to trust God fully.

AND! why is there so much stuff. going on in the world and why are people so obsessed with it. On my opening page on the laptop browser, there’s so many headlines and so many of them are about people’s appearances, work they’ve had done, opinions on just nothing really, speculation designed to rile people up. Trouble is, it works… it’s such a distraction from what is important. What matters? I think this is such an important question.

I’m just glad we have God in the midst of this confusing, worrying world. Our rock who we look to in times of trouble, or anytime really. He sometimes doesn’t feel real or like he is there. But He is. He really, really is. And He makes everything calm down again, he deals with the cracks and life starts to make sense again. Our dwelling place is with Him, not with all this stuff. Not in arguments or disagreements, not in point scoring and trying to say things are right when they’re not. He is the meaning and why we are all here.

I look at my kids and I see Him, I speak to people whilst out and God works, albeit in small ways a lot of the time, but very significant ways. I spend more time with Him really, than I ever have, I just often don’t see it. I’m quieter than I ever have been in a lot of ways. We spend quite a bit of time driving and He is there and we talk to Him. In the quiet of the night (and it is very quiet here at night), He is here, in the everyday doings, in my secret crying and laughter, He is here. He gives us joy in the midst of everything, and this joy is deeper and so much more than just being ‘happy’.

One other thing, these are normal, natural reactions to huge changes and just need to be worked through and actually acknowledged.

I see a lot of posts which seem to be saying how we should be, whether Christian or none Christian. What I will say is, God meets us where we are. We just have to be willing to meet Him or at least open to the possibility. He understands us and He knows us and works in us. I have a very simple prayer now, that my day is His. I try and take every moment as just being His. This takes the pressure off and keeps it simple.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:26-28.

This is a get it out of me post and my own opinion…:D whether you like it or don’t like it, may God bless you completely and utterly and bring you into or further into His Kingdom.

Bye for now!

Cathy.

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Wednesday 13th November 2019

I love writing the date like that. It reminds me of first learning to write the date and when I was taught how to write letters properly. As in letters to people, with your own address at the top right etc. I’ve got a feeling it was probably my mum that taught me that. Useful stuff.

Anyway, hi 👋

I’ve been a bit quiet recently, it’s just not felt quite right to write for a couple of weeks. I had no inclination unusually, but that is fine.

There’s been quite a lot on my mind, what’s new? I hear you say, and yes, you’d have a point. Anyway, hurrying along..

One of the main things I like about being here (and anywhere really) is the travelling around. I love driving and seeing new places and just the actual journey. I find it quite relaxing and exciting. Plus, just about all the journeys here look like this:

plus, the cottage can get a little claustrophobic at the moment at times, as we’re still just mainly in one room for living during the day. So I try and get out quite a bit. It is temporary and we make the best of it we can.. but tempers can be a little frayed occasionally…we went to the toy shop in Sligo yesterday, it was great. The journey takes you by Lough Gill and it’s really beautiful with woods and hills all around.

Chris has finished tiling the floor of what we’re calling the dining room:

so we now need to clean up, get the walls ready and paint.

‘This is the living room:

And this:

still, there are whole families who live in one room places or even in tents, so Thankyou Lord, for a home.

Not much else to write at the moment, apart from I’m still considering homeschooling.. that may be a separate post at a later date… and God is good.. He is always there throughout everything. Culture shock included… (that is something I was made aware of this weekend and is very interesting). Homework- Look it up.

Ta ra!

Cathy

Halloween and other things…

I’m in danger of ranting here, but I’ll try and get a grip a little bit…

I’ve seen so much rubbish in the way of ‘opinions’ over the last week or so on some topics such as Halloween, abortion, alcohol, transgender/sexual issues that it’s really starting to get to me… I’m beginning to think I should really limit my viewing of social media…

Firstly, Halloween, this is always a funny one with Christians. But the latest is to claim it as a ‘Christian’ invention…try reinvention. And it isn’t, not really, unless people celebrating with haunted houses, huge macabre parades, images of witches, zombies, dead people, celebrating ‘Samhain’ (look it up) doing ‘fun’ Halloween games which are actually occultic means you are celebrating Christ. It’s a full on Halloween fest over here especially.

I think one of the reasons I’m getting wound up is that I am sick of Christians making excuses up to do stuff they really shouldn’t be doing and then getting mad that they’re being ‘judged’. Or, that somehow your kids are ‘missing out’ if they don’t take part?!! I’m not going to quote scripture about the occult, but it’s clearly wrong to celebrate darkness when you have the light. And before the ‘you’re giving Christians a bad name’ people arrive, no, we are not afraid of Halloween, we give sweets out if people call round, I’m all for alternative parties if it gets people off the streets, we don’t go around with a permanent disapproving puckered look, we just know, that the way it is celebrated is not of God. (if I ever change my mind I will let you know, but it’s unlikely). Also, all this about evangelism/getting to know the neighbours opportunities, I’m all for them, but I don’t particularly think it’s an any better opportunity than at any other time of the year.

Interesting fact, as opposed to all the comments I’ve read from Christians who seem to think it’s ‘just a bit of fun’ and want to do it. I used to celebrate Halloween as a non Christian, I loved it, I loved dressing my daughter up, putting blood all over her face, doing the turnip, which then became a pumpkin when it all went posh.. then, when God saved me, I gradually just naturally grew to hate it. I take that as a natural Holy Spirit progression and am going with it. Also, for all the ‘it doesn’t lead into the Occult, it’s just a bit of fun’ people…do you really know that? It doesn’t lead to experimenting when children are older? it doesn’t lead to the opening of young minds to the darkness? I am going to be open with our kids as to why we don’t like or celebrate it and talk about the origins etc as they get older. But celebrating it? I don’t think so. Hopefully, they’ll realise fun doesn’t have to involve doing what everyone else is doing.. They’ll hopefully also understand that there are powers of darkness and people who actually enjoy dabbling in them, practicing them and they are not to be entertained. They’ll hopefully also understand at the right time, that God is all powerful and far more exciting than this..

I know this post will not be liked by some, and I understand that, but frankly, I’m past that. I understand the ‘celebration’ but am very fed up of Christians just going with stuff that they may not be called to go with. Redeem it, change it, whatever, but don’t claim it as Christian as how it currently is. We are directly responsible to God for ourselves and our kids, just think and pray before you act, that’s all I’m really asking…. Stop thinking about how the world perceives you and think about God and what is actually important. We are not called to be cool but to be obedient and to love God with everything we are and have. I also know we are all ‘works in progress’ but the comments I’ve seen are mainly from so called ‘mature Christians’. And no, this isn’t legalistic…

Amen!!! I could go onto the other topics, but I am stopping there….

It’s nearly winter again!

It’s absolutely beautiful here at the moment, cold, but beautiful. In December we will have been in Ireland for a year.

There’s loads to do in the garden and a load of strimming, the last cut before the winter. It’s become apparent that doing all the strimming as well as working full time and doing lots of other stuff in the house, is just too much for Chris, time wise as well as physically, so I’ve volunteered to be chief strimmer (I love doing it) and Chris has fitted me into the harness and shown me how to use it. I’ve only done it once so far, but am raring to go. I need to make the most of rain free days. It also feels really good to do something physical.

The strimming is actually the glamorous bit though, because there’s a load of weeding to do too, in the flower garden and where my veg patch was. It’s on your hands and knees in the wet, wet, soil type weeding, whilst keeping an eye on the kids. I did a bit yesterday, but I need to do a lot more. So it’s one of those just do it, make a choice to enjoy it type jobs really. You can learn a lot from gardening

In the house, It’s been bank holiday weekend this last weekend (yes we get an extra one) and Chris has almost finished tiling the dining room floor. He’s spent about three days on his knees, as well as a full weekend a couple of weeks ago and has done such a good job. It’s going to be so good practically and it’s going to look brilliant when it’s finished. Interesting fact – we chose the same quarry tiles that we had in our old house. We felt it suited the cottage, it was built around 1900 which was also when our terraced house was built.

Doesn’t look very glamourous from the photo, but life isn’t about looking glam..! (wait til it’s cleaned up too.) Chris is really good at doing work like this.

There’s loads I could have spoken about, so much has been going on in both Ireland and the world recently…but I’m choosing today to focus on the house because it’s been so long since I’ve updated and because the topics have probably also been done to death elsewhere…

On a separate note, I’m going through a reading phase, in the past couple of weeks I’ve read ‘The heavenly man’, ‘Run, baby, run’, and ‘God’s Smuggler’. There’s no words really, reading real life accounts about people who’ve put their lives in God’s hands and what he has done. Reading about Brother Yun, in the heavenly man, the suffering (and potential death) and his willingness to face it for Jesus. Andrew going behind the Iron Curtain and the trust in God to provide and protect, Nicky Cruz, who was so messed up, a bloodthirsty gang leader, becoming God’s and then following him, reading about his redemption, hearing his journey in a truthful way… Straight forward, non frothy, real faith and a willingness to do anything and experience anything for God. Breathtaking.

When someone dies…

Another one I’m not sharing on face book etc. I don’t think…

I’m currently sat here watching ‘the great British bake off’ with my youngest. Eating salted peanuts and feeling a little sorry for myself. It’s quite nice really. I’ve got a cold, so I’m allowing this today…

Anyway, doesn’t life get thrown on its head when someone dies? I don’t know if it’s the same for most people, but I’ve found, particularly when my dad first died, it throws up all sorts of thoughts. Some of the main ones for myself were regarding life and stages of life. How bizarre and short it actually is and that we are going to actually spend most of time in eternity, not here. So why are we here? I’m not going to answer that one other than there is purpose, of that I’m sure. We are made by God and for God, of that I am also sure and He is a good God. It’s a funny old life. But there are joys everywhere as well as sorrows.

I started looking at my kids and thinking about how my dad had once been their age (and wondering what he was like) and then at ourselves and thinking, he was our age too… then looking at the children again and thinking, they’ll probably be old one day, they’ll die too, and it’ll pass so quickly, even if it doesn’t seem so at the time. Also, how we all have to die and go through that process.

What is life about? I can tell you now, it isn’t about eating and drinking and what you can get out of it in a selfish, all about us sense. That stuff, even me sat on the sofa eating peanuts, doesn’t make us happy. It’s allowed and it can be nice and food can most definitely be a joy and a blessing…but It’s not what we’ve been made for…we are made for God and by God. And until we come to Him we will always try and stuff our lives full of things and ‘causes’ in search of our meaning.

Life is short and unpredictable. Live your best life, seek God, seek His will and His way. Seek out the good that He has for you, the talents He has given you, seek beauty. You were made you for a purpose. Be the you He made you to be. Don’t be anything else, don’t waste your time trying to be someone you are not. You were born to be you. Simple is good, remember that. The only way you can know you is through your creator.

He loves you.

Personal

This is quite a personal reflection/prayer and I’m not sharing it anywhere apart from here. It’s just something I wrote this morning to God. I often write to God. I find it works well for me.

I miss my dad, Lord.

I see his face, his presence, hear his voice, and I want him to still be here.

Its not right that he isn’t here (in my finite mind).

Please can I see him again in heaven? Please.

I miss him so much.

I wish I had a letter from him.

I wish I’d known him better.

I wish I’d loved him better.

I can’t believe he’s dead in some ways.

I suppose that is because eternity is written into the human heart.

Thank you.

Amen.

These are a few of my favourite things!

A friend said quite a while ago now (in May I think) ‘have you listed your 10 favourite things?, it’s a really good thing to do’. I thought about doing it and wrote a couple of bits, but then left it. They mentioned it again when I was last in England, and I thought today, I’ll do it. He clarified it as things you are grateful to Him (God) for – ‘just recall your childlike happy moments. That explanation really helped.

I’ll give a couple of mine, not all of them. Then I’ll tell you what surprised me about it.

1) lying in the sun on the beach/outside with my eyes shut. Listening to the sounds around.

2) wandering around on a nice day, just being, watching, listening.

3) the bedroom at night, when it is dark and quiet.

Simple things, that I’m grateful for and love. There’s many more. Although beef crisps are on there too…. Some are slightly more energetic and there are more than 10. It’s weird but I feel like it’s starting to change my thinking..

What surprised me was it made me really think about what I actually do like/love/enjoy and it wasn’t any of the stuff like Facebook, using my phone, tv. Running around doing activities… Some of which I do, a lot. It probably shouldn’t surprise me but it has caused me to think quite deeply over how we spend our time. When I say we, I’m mainly speaking about myself and the children.

It was a really good exercise to do. Questions I suddenly had for myself were, are my kids being given the opportunities to simply ‘be’, to play, to enjoy the simple things in life. Things that we maybe took for granted growing up, but aren’t always there now. Things like time… with people, with me, and to be by themselves, to explore and experiment, to simply be our/their selves. I also think that sort of lifestyle can open you up to God, hearing Him and becoming aware of Him. I was listing things that I enjoy, simple, lovely things and was aware that I don’t do them very often! So my kids probably aren’t either.

It may look like an idyllic life for the kids here sometimes but you really don’t see the full picture and the TV has been on a lot since we’ve been here. It’s been stressful and there have been periods when it hasn’t been good. (Interwoven with good of course). There are choices to make and we can make good ones or bad ones. How we spend our time is probably a good topic to think about.

It may surprise some, but I’ve been thinking about quiet a lot since we came here. Almost craving quiet times and silence. I love silence, even though it isn’t actually silence, it’s so full, so God filled. So beautiful.

The start of the poem Desiderata kept coming back to me the other week “go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence”. I think it is possible to have a life that is not completely rampant with ‘stuff to do’ and schedules and worry, governed by business (and other people’s business), I really do. I don’t mean people shouldn’t work, or prioritise, or do lists (I really like lists), we should, I just think we could look at our lives differently and maybe look at what is good for us, ask ourselves tough questions on what actually does fuel us and what is good for us and take it from there. How has God made us to be? Make some space to hear what is really important. Just be us. Learn to be in the moment.

God also gives us peace in the midst of anything and everything if we come to Him.

In Philippians 4:4-7 it says this:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So it seems like it’s a sort of exchange really, tell God everything, ask for what you need, thankfully, in fact when I looked up supplication it said it meant ‘the act of asking or begging for something humbly or earnestly’, and He will give you peace you do not understand. Is that not one of the best exchanges ever?

Bye! Do your favourite 10 things list if you’re so inclined..if not, well, there’s other ways for God to talk to you.