This is the day…

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24)

I’ve been thinking about this scripture this morning. There is so much in that one line of scripture.  It doesn’t sound like it on first reading, but there is. There is the fact that God created everything, including all of us. There is rejoicing because of this and being glad of this. There is also the decision taken to rejoice and see the good of the day.

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But also, with Jesus we can all be free of shame, guilt, bitterness, unforgiveness and addictions, just to name a few. We can be free of all the stuff that we’re all living with but actually don’t know what to do with and don’t know where to go with. We can only know forgiveness and freedom in our lives when we go with Jesus and acknowledge that he came for us, he came for us in our squalor and filth, hopelessness, helplessness and sin and lived and died and rose again to save us and reunite us with father God. Don’t you think that is just incredible? Just think about how Jesus suffered. He was tortured and I mean tortured, physically and mentally and then crucified. He was separated from his father God in order that he might fully understand what it is like to be us and all this because man betrayed him. But you know what he said? He said, forgive them, for they know not what they do. That is something to rejoice about. Jesus is Lord. He is over everything. He is in everything, even (or especially sometimes) when we don’t understand and when asked, forgives everything and gives new life. He also never, ever takes this back.

Awesome.

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Look at this hand, isn’t it amazing? Look at the detail. God designed that.

I’m preaching to myself in this too, I am prone to anxiety, I am prone to that tightness in my chest and whirling in my stomach that feels as though bad things are going to happen and makes you feel lost, like you don’t know what to do first and everything seems overwhelming. It can rob you of your joy and life and affect people around you. I am also aware I am completely unable to actually describe what it feels like properly. It is not nice, but God quiets me and I can tell him everything and anything and then peace is possible. The bible tells us that God gives us peace that surpasses understanding and I can guarantee that he does. Even in the midst of turmoil.

We are still waiting for the solicitor to email us the draft for the offer on the Scottish property at the moment, apparently buying a croft is more complex than buying a house and can be a bit of a minefield. I don’t know why, but we will make a choice to trust her judgement. Hopefully we will see the draft  today and get the offer in. God is in charge, not us. So today! I make a choice to trust Him, rejoice in Him and see the good surrounding me. Jesus gives peace to your soul.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

He does not give as the world gives. He gives purity and light and cleanness and LOVE.

He is love.

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Gifts…!!!

Today has been a good day. We went to Derby on the train, this was the first time our three year old has been on a train! He loved it, and he behaved so well. He was funny, talking all the way there, asking questions, looking out of the window. We’ve spent most of the day with our family, celebrating family, it’s been lovely.

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Chris was in Shetland today! He also had a good day, he loves the Croft and Shetland and so things look good so far. He’s coming home tomorrow, I’m looking forward to seeing him. I’ve missed him.

Feels a little odd writing about the process at this stage, very vulnerable, because we want to put an offer in, but there may be other people interested too, so we may not get it. So we’re excited but also don’t want to get too excited in case we don’t get it and then we’ll be disappointed and it will be public! But I also think hiding it is a waste of time because why waste time pretending we’re not excited, when we are!!! We would love to live there. More and more I keep thinking, we just waste so much time being frightened of being disappointed, frightened of looking too into things/people, frightened of what we look like, just wanting to keep up appearances. Instead of being open, vulnerable and honest. I think it keeps us from rejoicing, because we’re scared to.

There is a part in the bible that says to rejoice when others rejoice, weep when others weep… (Romans 12:15), to me this summons up a picture of honesty, of being there for others, of taking life to the full, of admitting joy and disappointment and grief and being genuine. Whilst still having that deep, underlying joy because of Christ’s life, sacrifice and resurrection and the Holy Spirit within you. The joy of knowing him whether life is great or whether it has turned to rubbish.

This brings me onto what I believe God has been speaking to me about recently. Today, I have been hearing the word, gift, gift, gift, gift, gift, over and over again and have been talking to God about it. I believe this is in relation to life and what happens but most importantly to the people in my life. Before and even since becoming a Christian I have struggled with the thought of losing my family, of losing those close to me, I’ve imagined things so clearly at times, that it has felt as though it is real. I’ve imagined them suffering and my heart feels as though it will explode from grief, I’ve imagined them dying and the grief again briefly feels overwhelming, but then I’ve usually managed to stop that thought process. The thought of them suffering or even of something happening to me and of leaving them, of leaving my family on their own has occasionally been overwhelming (even though it is from my imagination). I am also aware that there may be people who are reading this who have actually lost those close to them or who are facing life threatening situations and my heart goes out to you.

So I believe what God is saying and what he is changing in me, is that he is changing my perspective. These people, my family, my children, my parents, my friends on this earth, even my own life – are not mine. They are His. These lives are gifts, from Him, they are not mine to cling on to. They are given because he loves us but also for unknown, higher purposes than those of which we are aware and I am to love and celebrate them, to mind and look after and nurture them and just do life with them and probably much more. These relationships in my life, although real and good and given for a purpose are not the end, and they are not permanent. One day, we are all going to die, we don’t know when, but there are hard questions to examine. What happens next? What is my life for?

These gifts of people, they are gifts, amazing gifts and should be celebrated (and grieved for)! But they are not what life is about. They are gifts to celebrate and one day give back. This may seem a bit macabre to some people, (and please remember I am not a theologian either) but it’s not macabre, it is freeing and releasing. This life and when it ends is not within my control and whenever and however it ends or whatever happens, God is good, He loves us and wants us to be with Him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16).

God does not change, he loves us no matter what, every good and perfect gift comes from him. He is that perfect parent that we all strive to be or want, but don’t ordinarily get. The only way is through Jesus.

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3).

I’ve just included the above writing because I just love the way it describes Jesus. It sends shivers down my spine. He upholds the universe by the word of his power….

I’m a bit of an external processor, doncha know…

Egg…

Interesting fact – Egg was our youngest’s first word. It sounded like egg anyway.

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Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

So, Chris and his dad are on their way to Shetland, the survey on our house is now happening on Monday, and I’m at home watching sooty with the two boys. It’s all happening! The boat journey will hopefully go ahead (it’s rather windy). It’s on schedule so far, and Chris will go and see if the croft is the right place for us. I don’t know if people realise this, but we’ve never actually been to Shetland, this is Chris’s first time and I’ve never been. So, reckless  move or a leap of faith? I’m inclined to think faith, although I can be reckless. I think God requires us to jump when he asks us and this may appear reckless to others.

We discussed what this visit was mainly about and came to the conclusion that the main reason for the visit and viewing was to get the feel of the place, could we live there as a family? could Chris take his family there? is it right? So yes, we are hoping the croft house is intact and not leaking etc but also, is it right, could we live there? What is God saying about it? and I fully trust Chris that if he comes back and says no, it’s not right, then it’s not and if he says yes, it is right, I trust him on that too. We’ve been praying together and separately about it and although we would love this place, if it is not where God wants us, there will be somewhere else to go.  This talk about listening to what God is saying might sound weird if you don’t know Him, but he does talk to us. Being a Christian is a real relationship between yourself and God, it is not following a set of rules, but knowing Jesus.

Life is an adventure and we intend to live it as one. Whether we’re in Derbyshire or Scotland or anywhere else, in a house with a garden or in a house with a croft, or even if we’re ever without a house. It’s a bit of a cliche but I felt like God spoke to me ages ago about blooming where you’re planted. It was when I was feeling dissatisfied with being in Chesterfield and wanted to be in Matlock or the surrounding area. It was a bit of a check for me about being where you are because that’s where God’s put you and things aren’t going to get better just because you go somewhere else. And God was right, as He always is.

This is exciting though, I feel on tenterhooks, is this place right or is it wrong?

Meanwhile I’m at home and I need to go and check on the chickens and get the eggs in a bit, then we need to take the dog out. He ate a sock yesterday, so he’s been a bit off it, it has exited his body though..not going into any details. It was gross and sort of amazing. It was the shape of his bowel…

 

still waiting, but …

Still waiting, as the title says. Chris is going up to Aberdeen tomorrow, getting the overnight ferry to Shetland and then going to view the house. He is then getting the overnight ferry back and arriving home again the following evening. It sounds so good to me. I love travelling about. But, I’m fine to be here, praying for him and hopefully enjoying  time with our two boys and the dog. I need to email the solicitors as I actually don’t know what we need to do yet if we do want to put an offer in.  I think it needs to come through them, but I’m not sure.

This is our dog, he is called Blaze:

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He is a six month old Border Collie. For his age he amazes me with how obedient he is. The only thing is, he wants to chase cars when we’re walking him, but we’ve started using a head collar and it has made a huge difference with both that and his pulling.

He’s really good with our three year old, he runs and plays with him and is very patient with him. When we said we were getting a Border Collie, a lot of people’s faces were a picture, but he has been really rewarding and loving. He is greedy, he likes jumping up at you and jumps over the gate when you’re not looking because he loves people and footballs and they play football on the field opposite our house. But he was definitely a good choice.

I’ve always loved animals. When I was a kid I was always coming home with new gerbils/hamsters/mice/stolen dogs (well borrowed) whom I swore had just followed me home from the fields near our house and when I was out my eyes were always to the ground in case there were any wild animals in trouble (for example, had fallen out of their nests) that I could nurture and build up back to good health :D.

I was also a little odd, and it wasn’t unknown to find snails or slugs or jars of spiders in my room, a worm farm I’d made or to find me burying a dead animal so I could later dig it up and look at it’s skeleton…(don’t judge me, I blame the parents :D). In fact I do also have a vague memory of my mum finding my dead, frozen guinea pig in the freezer (it was dead before I put it in there), I “think” I may have been considering preserving it to try out taxidermy…..(I never did). So! I think I may be suited to the country life, it never does to be tooooo soppy over the animals (in my opinion), particularly ones you may be eating at some point….Still not sure how I’ll get on with that one, guess we will find out…

 

 

 

This is church!

When we leave, one of the reasons I will be sad to go will be to leave our church.  (CITP) They are nuts in the best possible way (forgive me, (you have to). God always puts together a load of people who are completely different from one another and would never normally spend time with each other and makes them family together.

This is them at our wedding (also with our own family, who are also pretty cool, my mum and dad are standing next to me):

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These are our elders at the recent catalyst festival (click on the following link for YouTube video), (CITP elders) Note the use of team work and willingness to take instruction from the younger members. Notice the rhythm and dance moves!!! Notice the resignation that this is what is required of them and their grace as they get their groove on 😬.  Also notice that at least one of them is really enjoying it! They are brilliant.

Seriously, church is awesome, because of Jesus. I know that this is not everybody’s experience of church and I’m really really sorry if you have had bad experiences but church is meant to be goooooood. It will always be hard work in some way because there’s so many people thrown together, but take it from me, it’s worth it. When I’m getting fed up I always have to remind myself that we’re all human, only Jesus is perfect and through Him we can always check ourselves,  forgive if necessary and move on! Also, it’s family and families are hard work! But definitely worthwhile. This family have been there for me and plenty of others through thick and thin. They do awesome work in the community and with our new church building they will be able to do a whole lot more. They don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk too.

Did you know that the church is the people, not the building? That Jesus gave himself up for her (the church, his people) so she may be holy and without blemish (that’s us)? That He nourishes and cherishes the church? (Again, us) (Ephesians 5:25-29). And wants to nourish and cherish you? My perception of it used to be so wrong it was unreal. I thought all church people were up themselves, self righteous a..holes. Now look at me! Look at where God’s put us! In fact, don’t look at me, look at God!

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Well that was nearly 5 years ago, but you get the picture!

 

Thank you God for loving me, thank you God for loving me..and you…

 

Communication..Express yourself…

As a little aside, I’ve been thinking about communication.  I’ve discovered I can often communicate and express myself far better in writing than I can in person.  Don’t get me wrong, I can express myself verbally and non verbally….sometimes too forcefully, other times not enough… But I find it so much easier when writing.

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I’ve decided that this may in part be due to our expectations when conversing and of not being listened to or heard.. I don’t think we often let others express themselves properly. We try to correct and almost try to change what they think or are saying before we’ve listened to them and this in turn can stop people from being able to express themselves verbally and knowing they are being heard.

Although I suppose this may also encourage the development of other gifts, and ways of expression and creativity. With no challenges, few things develop… Also, I suppose that is part of why I love writing, no-one can really shut you up, it’s your writing with no interruptions. I am able to sort my head out without interruption.

When I’m with people, I really really do not want to do the superficial thing of  gazing intently into someone’s eyes as if they’re the most interesting person ever  whilst not listening at all.

I have never felt that God has told me to shut up or cut me off mid sentence. He has quieted me and told me to stop or slow down, but he is always there and listens carefully without looking over my shoulder for the next person to talk to and without thinking what he is getting from the shop later. But then again, He is God and present everywhere all the time, yet able to be with me one to one and care about me and see me. I am not a blurred face in a crowd, I am known personally and loved by almighty God and so are you.

I do also realise we are all different and express ourselves differently and for some, writing or other forms of communication for example art or music, are their lifeline, expression and a God given gift, it doesn’t have to be verbal. For me, I love writing and doodling, it charges me up and is therapeutic, but I do think we can all help in person by just listening, not correcting, at least not to start with and by valuing each and every person and just being with them. (this is not intended as a lecture, just me trying to put my thoughts in order). Also, wouldn’t we know others so much better if we just listened to them? I want to know people properly, not superficially (This does NOT mean I want to know all your secrets! well, unless you want to tell them)

This sums it up really:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19) 

Enough said for now.

Over and out.

 

We’ve accepted an offer!

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our beautiful garden

So we have today accepted an offer on our home. It’s a cash offer too so it could potentially go through quite quickly providing no major problems pop up along the way..REALLY hoping this. Please may there be nothing major…

Mixed emotions…

Excited for the future and our journey and what God has in store and also know it’s time to move on. But this has also been my home for the past 13 years, the first 8 were just me and my daughter doing life together. It was our safe place, we’d moved around quite a few different houses and this was the one Tasha said she didn’t want to leave. When I first started nursing, I used to do a week of nights once a month and so she had to virtually live somewhere else for a week every month and she started to hate it.  She wanted some stability I think. So we moved here when she was ten and I went on the district rather than doing hospital nursing. It seems so long ago, but it’s not really. So much has changed in that time. I made so many mistakes, we had some rough times but we also had some lovely times. I really love my daughter, she lives in London now and I am very proud of her. She cares about justice, she always has, since being a little girl. She’s incredibly talented and vulnerable and raw.

I was saved in this house, when I was 34, ten years ago.   So I was healed from alcoholism and smoking here, amongst other things, by Jesus.

Tasha grew up here, she worked hard and worried me by going out on midnight walks when she was an older teenager. I confused Tasha here by being saved, she got good marks despite having pink hair (and me being saved 😁) and went to Uni in London to study Art, a month before Chris and I got married. She did amazingly well at uni and is now doing her masters.

I was in terrible debt here, debt which got paid off thanks to CAP. CAP do amazing work. The debt was paid off about a month or so before getting married. That was a prayer answered, we did not want to go into marriage in debt and we didn’t.

Chris and I met whilst I was here and got married, we didn’t move in together until after we were married. That is a miracle in itself given our backgrounds. God changes us so much and so much for the better. He makes us new.

We had a miscarriage here, a miscarriage I didn’t understand, I felt in full faith for God to restore the beating heart in my womb, for it to show up on the second scan a week after losing the baby. But he didn’t. But he did heal me, heal my womb and give us more babies.

I gave up my nursing here, I gave it up to look after my babies, Because being there with them and for them is really important to me, especially after doing my nurse training whilst Tasha was little, I later felt like her childhood was far too rushed – got to get here, got to get there. But I also gave it up because although I loved actual nursing, I was sick of the rubbish associated with it and burnt out. I didn’t want to go back but am now starting to feel almost ready… Not quite though… It’s a while before Ira goes to school.

I gave birth to my first boy at home by accident because I didn’t get to the hospital in time. We didn’t even get out of the front door. It was great and very very special. We got to stay at home. (I say by accident, I originally wanted a home birth and was persuaded otherwise, so thanks God for giving us what we had asked for 🙂 )

I gave birth to my second boy here, in a planned home birth. Not one the midwives were keen on because of my age and because they thought he was a big baby.  It was fast and he was born well but I worried the neighbours because i was taken into hospital in an ambulance for monitoring because of blood loss. It was very exciting for me – I think I was high on hormones.

We got an allotment here, which was a God thing… I asked God what I should do and He said get an allotment, we got our chickens here – which I have loved.

So!! You get the picture… A lot of stuff has happened, much much more than I’ve put here…God has done absolutely loads of good stuff in my/our lives. Rubbish has also happened but that is not of God. I have screamed at Him here, cried with Him, begged Him for help here, laughed, worshipped, got rid of demons here. Came to life here!!!!  Learnt from Him (or not) here.

But it is time to leave. It’s time for us to bless this place and move on. Memories intact. And all our family will always have a place with us wherever we live. That includes George, Chris’ eldest son as well as Tash. Love you Tash.

sorry/not sorry. Love these pictures. Byeeeeeeeeee for now.