Goodness

So I’m going to briefly mention the last few weeks. As I’ve mentioned, I was ill, some sort of viral thing that started as a cold, worsened until I felt like I could hardly move with big temperatures, then as that part improved, moved to my throat and chest. I’m still not quite there yet, my voice is still a little hoarse and I’m still coughing but I feel waaaay better than I did. I can actually do stuff now. With two little ones at home too, it was difficult.

I’m fed up with getting ill, since being here we’ve all been much worse than normal. I’m looking at our diets now and I’m taking supplements too. Exercise is next, once the chest has cleared. And of course, following God closely and perhaps with a little more discipline. Not that this is guaranteed to avoid ill health but it’s something that’s on my mind.

Speaking of which, there’s a song by Bethel called the goodness of God and I listened to it and worshipped to it right up until my dad died. Then I couldn’t, I couldn’t bear to play it. I have been able to play it and sing it today for the first time since. It talks about singing of the goodness of God. He is so patient and kind, I’ve also had some pretty good Godly friends to talk to over the last few weeks/months. Who’ve also spoken God’s words to me and looked after me by pointing me to him. You know who you are, Thankyou.

God always meets you where you are. There’s no need to work anything up, be anything you’re not, just come to him and trust He’s with you and for you even when you can’t feel it or hear Him. Just trust. If you have friends who know Him, try them too.

(that’s my advice anyway)

Cathy

Ouch!

It’s funny but I was just sat here having a cup of tea and suddenly thought ‘my dad’s died’ and teared up. Isn’t it strange how losing someone effects you. Normal morning, normal conversation, feeling pretty ‘normal’ then ouch, pain. I suppose it makes me aware to the fact that there is a lot going on inside all of us though. Definitely more than meets the eye.

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel. “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

This is one of the many reasons I love God, he sees our hearts, not just our outward appearance. Thank you Lord.

Light

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

This is another favourite verse of mine.

Tonight I’m thinking about Jesus being arrested and taken off to be hideously abused and then hung on a cross to die. I’m thinking about what it means and why He did it. Luke 22 is a good place to read.

I’m also thinking of the light he gives, Of the resurrection and celebration that is coming and that he gives us when we come to him. There is no situation he cannot shine his light on. There is always hope. Through Him, through Jesus.

He is real, He is alive, He is why we are here, He is who we need, He is Jesus.

Project veg plot

I have a project! The area of raised ground behind the house is just about dry enough to sort out for our veg plot (with a few flowers thrown in for good measure). So I’ve started edging and digging the beds and planning it out. I love doing it. Especially planning and deciding where to put the paths and beds and what will go where.

A before (ish) photo, not quite the same view as the next:

and a current photo:

It is so satisfying, just doing a bit at a time. It has to be a bit really, I have to wait for littlest’s nap time, then I try to do the digging. The top bit in front of the shed is where I’m at at the moment:

still about half a bed to dig, there’s some big stones in there. When I can get them out they get thrown down the bank, there’s one so far that I can’t shift, so I think I’ll stick another on top and leave it there so I can see where it is and don’t do a clang a spade down on it thing and reverberate. I’m hoping to get potatoes in here over the next week but it’s still fairly claggy, so we’ll see.

This is the other side:

To the far left as you look at the raised area we are hoping to put up a poly tunnel. Either this year or next, we aren’t sure yet. There’s so many roots and branches to clear, but it’s good fun.

I’ve felt a bit low recently and being outside, being active and gardening are things I really enjoy and they charge me up. I asked God what to do about how I was feeling earlier in the week and amongst other things I felt he said to get outside. He also gave me this verse:

Matthew 6:25

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 

I need to trust him.

also, we have pots everywhere! I love it! Seeds are germinating all over the house 😍

these are cornflowers, blackball and blue ball. Hopefully we’ll pick the right spot for them once they’re a bit bigger and they’ll flourish!

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”.

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!