It was our Last Sunday at Church in the Peak today…

I’ve been there ten years, ever since I was saved and Chris has been there about 5 1/2 years. They’re my/our family. They’ve been with me/us through all sorts of life changes and us with them. That’s probably why we still feel part of it, despite the fact we’re going to Ireland on Friday.

Another reason (the main reason) is that Scripture says that God sets the lonely into families (Psalm 68:6) and so he did with me and Chris and continues to do so with many others. All you have to do is ask as he also says “ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened”. (Matthew 7:7). He is ready and eager (not just willing) for you to ask him in. Try him.

So, back to church this morning. It was great and very moving. They prayed for us, we were given words from God (God speaking through people), which were very reassuring and we have gifts too and an amazing card! So generous. Saying goodbye was such an honour. So again, thank you. You sent us off “proper”.

Advertisements

Four weeks to go!

Yes folks, all being well, four weeks today and we will be in Ireland. It’s a strange feeling, I’m full of excitement and am really looking forward to doing this together as a family but also have lots of other feelings whirling around inside me. It’s difficult to describe.

Nerves for one, I suppose. Will we be welcomed? What will they think of us? Will the kids be ok? Especially J as it probably isn’t long until he will be at school there (I’ll really miss him). Will everyone we’re leaving here be ok? Lots of things really. I think the answer is, we will be fine. Everything will be fine. In fact, much more than fine. We have Jesus, so even when things are not fine, they also are – topsy turvy I know!

Practically, we’ve seriously started packing now and have boxes everywhere.

Our three year old – J says he “just wants to get there now” (cute) and I have started making lists of companies and people we need to inform. It is surprisingly long. It also feels strange because for the utility bills, I actually need to cancel the accounts because we aren’t staying in the UK.

The process also feels quite freeing though, as I have a list which I am going through and cancelling services and payments off. With each cancellation there is a big line that goes through the company name. Really need to keep things simple in the future…

There’s still lots I need to look into, such as bank accounts, national insurance payments, getting our cars checked out once there and the plates changed, whether we can keep our mobile contracts or not. I think probably not, but we will see (it’s on the list) and we also need to look into medical care (I think we have to apply for a card once there, but I need to look at it again).

Plenty to keep us occupied anyway!

The ferry journey is booked now too and Chris has given his notice in at work, so here’s praying that it all goes smoothly!

This week has been good, I’ve tried to make some room for fun/time with the children. I sometimes get so wrapped up in what’s going on that I feel like I don’t play with them enough. So we’ve had some fun. Going out, Throwing the ball for the dog, walking, getting the bus, running round, baking, talking. I find it really difficult to be present sometimes because my mind gets sooo full. But I’m trying to practice just being with them (I mean with no distractions) and enjoying it for at least part of each day. Thank you God for our children!

Testimony Tuesday

I thought I’d share today the story of how I’m no longer addicted to alcohol despite this being thought to be impossible.

I was very similar to a lot of people nowadays, I started drinking when I was a young teenager (around 13ish) but me being me, I tend to go to extremes with whatever I do. So it quickly escalated from bottles of cheap wine to vodka and became daily from a fairly young age really. There were periods in my life where I didn’t drink so much – so when I was pregnant with my daughter when I was 20, I didn’t drink and for a while after I didn’t drink regularly but when I did I completely overdid it, binged and drank to the point of insensibility. I never seemed to have that ability some do, of just enjoying a drink. Once that bottle was open, once I was out having a drink – the gloves were off.

Also like so many other people I got into a lot of trouble whilst drinking, found myself in dangerous situations, acted irrationally, got hurt (fell downstairs a few times, off walls etc etc). I also eventually started losing my memory when drinking, particularly when drinking vodka, it’s like my memory would suddenly switch off and the next day, I would remember nothing. I had so much shame and guilt that had accumulated and this acted like a vicious circle in that I’d drink again and then feel worse but then drink again.

As I got older, the drinking changed in that I did a lot of it in my house on my own. I was embarrassing to go out with because I just got SO drunk, so I just drank at home. It was also a bit of a secret, so I think I isolated myself too. In my early 30’s (I’m now 44) I was drinking most if not all evenings, often into the small hours, waking up on the sofa at 3 am still holding my glass. I felt a need of it. I can remember going and sitting outside a supermarket and feeling what felt like an irresistible urge to go and buy vodka. I “needed” it. I tried not to but did. I liked vodka because it didn’t make you smell the next day (well not as bad as some) and as I was working. I didn’t want people to know. The next day I often felt dreadful, racing heart, shaking hands, a sense of fear and doom… (alcohol is a depressant if you didn’t know).

Then I met Jesus. Through someone I worked with. Gradually things changed, almost without my realising it. The drinking lessened, then stopped. I had one last bout where I got absolutely “hammered” and it was almost as if I needed that as a wake up call and then I was healed. I put my faith and my life in Jesus hands and no longer needed booze.

Now, I can have alcohol in the house, I can have a drink and enjoy it. I don’t have to finish the bottle. I don’t even particularly enjoy more than one drink, whatever it is. In fact, when I had my miscarriage, I purposefully went and bought a bottle of rum, intending on getting drunk, but just couldn’t. It was like there was something inside me physically stopping me. Which of course is true, the Holy Spirit is inside me now. Which is truly amazing.

Jesus has healed me in so many ways. This story to me is just awe inspiring. I was addicted and now I am not. I believe this is the only way we can be truly healed from addictions – through Jesus, he makes us new, not better versions – new.

It is now 10 years and counting of being able to have a drink but not getting drunk. I feel no pressure to drink, or not drink. I rarely even think about it. God is indeed good.

Bye for now.

Happy Sunday again!…

Hello! I had the most beautiful experience at church when we were worshipping Jesus this morning. I had my eyes closed and was singing to him and just had the sensation of him taking my hands and then putting his arms around me and resting his head on top of mine and just dancing with me pulled in close. It was just so reassuring and fatherly and beautiful. I can’t really explain it any clearer than that. He pulled me in close and loved me, in only the way God can. I’ve tried to find a picture that would represent it but can’t really find anything that represents it properly.

I’ve also just realised that when I did the update the other day, there was one other common question I did not answer and that was “is there a church that you can go to in the area?”.  The answer is – there are a few different gatherings in the area, a few different denominations, including Methodist, Catholic, Baptist, Church of Ireland and there is even one a bit like the group we are currently part of about 45 minutes away in Sligo (They also do something called healing on the streets which I would love). However, ideally we would want to be part of a community fairly locally and intend to look more locally to start with. I personally feel that it will become clearer when we are there, and we intend to listen to God closely and go where we feel he wants us. No matter where it is or what denomination.

As I said a few days ago, it was our 5th wedding anniversary this week and our wedding was sooooo good. Firstly due to God just being so awesome, secondly because our church and family just pulled together and it was a huge group effort. If I ever need reminding of what they are like, I remember our wedding…Someone acted as our wedding planner, someone else did the flowers, someone else did our invitations and yet again, someone else printed them, loads of people brought food for the meal, another friend did the photography (and it was really good), people transferred the flowers from the church building to the Whitworth where we had our reception, they acted as ushers, the church was decorated and the hall where we had the reception was also decorated by our friends, our worship band played and sang in the church, one of our elders performed the marriage ceremony…it was beautiful…and special…the glasses were supplied, bubbly was gifted, friends prayed for us and there was just such a sense of joy and fun..We had a Ceilidh in the evening and it was a lot of fun and just about everyone joined in, even the Ceilidh band were gobsmacked at the atmosphere…(it’s only God that can do that). We have been blessed by God so so much to have been part of this particular part of his church.

A selection of photo’s which I feel captured the feel of the day.  It was such a good, good, God day. The start of a good life partnering together for Him, learning how to be and there is so much more to come.

 

No condemnation

The bible tells us that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. No condemnation. None! But I know I often/usually do not live like this. So I’ve started a bible study through you version on it and am talking to God, doodling ideas and thoughts and generally asking God’s spirit to show me the truth.

I think through past stuff, things that have happened, things I’ve done I still hold onto feeling worthless when In fact the opposite is true, because of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit cleanses us from all unrighteousness and although we still do sin, in the bible study it pointed something out I’ve never thought of before – we now hate the sin, even though we may still do it. Isn’t that a gift!!!?? Even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Haha.

In other news, our littlest is now sleeping in his cot and It’s going fairly well. And he can now climb stairs and onto the settee. Nothing is safe any more! He climbed on this morning because his brother was sat there eating a banana and J then shared it with him. Which was nice!

I love these little parts of life. Watching them change and grow. Finding things out, learning things. It happens so fast at this age too. Life is most definitely a miracle.

Why do I find being nice so difficult?

I do.

I confess.

I often find being ‘nice’ difficult. I get irritated and/or impatient and want to correct people, interrupt, or even just leave. Why??!! Other times, not a problem, patience unlimited… (This confession feels a little out there, and if you don’t like soul bearing please stop reading now! but I am telling myself it isn’t just me that feels like this ;))

I am asking God why. I’m sure there are many reasons…

Because I sometimes feel bad about myself or I haven’t identified why I’m upset or irritated and take it out on people. It’s when my identity is confused and I almost step back in time and become like the old Cathy, where bitching and being hard, putting others down and not caring about things was my protection, my shell. If you’re hard and don’t care you fool yourself that things don’t or won’t hurt and you can actually almost fool yourself into believing you don’t care and that the most important thing is to look after number 1 (and family) and that is it. Other people are never (or rarely) for you and cannot be trusted, so get in there first…. it’s when my priorities are mixed up or when I’m plain old tired.

Also, I hate fakeness and it feels fake to be nice when I’m not feeling it. But if I look at others as God’s creations and the precious beings that they are, then surely that should change? I am quite sure it will.

The fact is I get so hurt sometimes it’s unreal. Especially if I have trusted someone and I feel they’ve let me down or deliberately said something to hurt me, or if I think they’ve spoken behind my back. That’s a real deal breaker with me I’m afraid.

But you see, I know that is wrong… other people’s responses are not my responsibility. My response is. My attitude is.

I am called to love, to forgive, to proclaim the love of God and his salvation. To bring healing, to keep peace, to have mercy and show grace. That is who I am. A warrior for God. A peacemaker and healer. A restorer. A worshipper of Jesus. And that is what I will do, by the power of God in me. My mission, should I choose to accept it is to glorify God and show him to others so they can know his goodness and love for themselves. My mission is to keep looking at him and him alone.

He is good. I need to remember he didn’t choose me because of any qualities he put in me… He chose me because it is not his wish that any should perish. He chose me because HE is good, not me. But I now have the ability because of this to live my life differently. Just like you do if you accept him as your saviour. I didn’t go to our church on Sunday, but I did listen to the preach online – which was along these lines… and I feel that God really spoke to me through it.

I choose God. I choose to follow him. I choose to overrule my pride and hurt feelings, difficult though this may be, to follow him and I choose to do what is right. Well, after a little internal struggle maybe…but he usually works it out in me…although sometimes a situation feels impossible and I feel almost paralysed to do anything about it…he works in me/us for good.

And everything is fine…even good, even joyeous!

 

 

 

 

 

Be kind to yourself?

I was thinking this morning, learn to be kind to yourself, you don’t have to do, do, do, you don’t have to get certain things done by a certain time, you don’t even have to indulge in endless activities for the children – that does not make a good parent as far as I’m concerned. Giving time is better I think…However, I then started thinking, is this biblical? I thought, the bible tells us to “die to self” but then God’s grace is for all and he also says to love others as you love yourself.

How does he tell us to love? Love as he has loved us.

How has he loved us? An innocent man (God) died for us, in our place. Through this we have forgiveness of every sin, we have life – before we come to Christ we are dead in our sins and transgressions. We have restoration and freedom, we are back to how it was before the fall. We can walk with God in the garden. Jesus removes the barriers to God, all of them. We have healing, which seems to come in a variety of forms. The main one as I see it is of being restored to God, of the gap being filled, our purpose in this life being revealed. God’s healing is truly holistic, he heals the root causes and true healing then follows. God never papers over the cracks and is always truthful with us, lovingly truthful. God always listens to us and delights in us coming to him, he answers prayer. He delights in us being us (he made us). In short, he heals, he loves, he restores, forgives, accepts, changes us, listens, redeems, comforts us, counsels us, gives us wisdom and grace. I have probably left some points out, but you get the gist.

So how does this translate, before I go off at a complete tangent? How am I supposed to love myself and others without being self seeking and self absorbed? This is the famous scripture that is read at so many weddings:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

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.

Love never ends…

(1 Corinthians 13:1-8)

Doing this without the power of the holy spirit as far as I can see is hopeless. This is the template for love and how it is possible to love and as far as I am concerned it is an amazing checklist. No more fakey, kiss, kiss, type of love, but real, tangible, raw love. Love that requires sacrifice and perseverence, not fake smiles. Love that lasts.

I suppose all this love stuff, also goes hand in hand with the fruits of the spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control” (Galatians 5:22-23). So, I guess the trick is, abide in God, know who he has made you to be, ask for the fruit of the spirit and follow him. Aha! so easy 😀 haha.

So, back to the original question? is it biblical to be kind to yourself? I guess it is as long as it is being kind and not just indulging your each and every whim. I know I need to look after myself and in particular get rest, because if I don’t everyone suffers! The aim of being kind to myself should really be to show God and His love to others…not just for me to sit here thinking of ways to indulge myself. Outwards facing, not inwards….

On another note, we are definitely off to Ireland next week! I am so excited, I’ve never been before! So many adventures this year, a very different year to previous ones! Life has most definitely been an adventure since knowing God, but this year, things have changed again. “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wonderful deeds…” (Ps 98:1)