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…

 

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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.

 

Contentment

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I had an experience last night.  I was sat in the living room looking through into the kitchen and was looking at and listening to the washing machine. I felt contentment, I felt peace, I felt security. I then realised I hadn’t felt content for quite a while in a lot of ways. Strange that a washing machine made me realise that, but God works through everything.  Also, I can remember lying in bed in a morning when I was a child and hearing my mum in the kitchen doing the washing and various other things and feeling very content and secure whilst listening to this, so maybe that is what also sparked that feeling and realisation.

So what does this mean?

It means I realised I’d been wanting something more than I’d got for some reason.  It means I have been discontented and I don’t even know with what, just life, which is ridiculous.

Sitting there yesterday evening watching the washing machine, I started to think and try to remember what Paul (in the bible) said about learning to be content in all circumstances and I’ve had to look it up. So here it is, Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV):

 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

So there it is…I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Not through my own power or even through things happening to me, obtaining things or doing things, but through Jesus and through His spirit. This was also spoken about in our church meeting this morning about in our weakness He is strong.

This is the bit: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It doesn’t come easy to me to boast of weaknesses, at the moment I tend to be a bit defensive, but if it means Christ’s power will then be with me and in me and I will function through Him and in his strength. Bring it on! I don’t have to be perfect, that’s the bit that Jesus did. And does. And will do. So Lord! I cannot do this life without you. We need you in everything and in every way and I hope and pray that others come to know you like this.

This looks like contentment to me, our boy at a couple of months and again this week at the age of three. Gorgeous.

Oh and it is looking like we’ve probably sold our house….watch this space…eeeek..

 

Nagging toddlers and persistent widows

Having previously mentioned that I found our church festival challenging, I’ve been thinking, and prompted by a statement by Chris that he’s been pestering our daddy God like our three year old, found I needed to write.

I didn’t just find the festival difficult, life can be quite difficult I find with a toddler (as well as wonderful) Every parent in the world probably agrees. However, recently it has been specifically so. Our toddler has started repeating himself whenever he wants something, especially if we have told him he cannot have it. It feels like a form of torture.

One example is, I DO want it, I DO want it, I NEED it, I NEED it, I NEED it, I NEED it, I NEED it, I NEED it, I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I WANT IT… I need the television on mummy, I need the television on mummy, I need the television on mummy, I need icecream, I need icecream, I need icecream, I need icecream, I need icecream, “not for breakfast, we don’t have icecream for breakfast” but I NEEEED it, I need it, I need it, I need it, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry….play with me, play with me, play with me, play with me,play with me, play with me…this is an extremely shortened, restricted version of it and only one example of his persistence, it is a very effective technique for wearing someone down. He is persistent and tenacious and although annoying and very difficult for us, we feel this is probably actually a gift, not a burden. A couple of our friends have also said this. My problem is actually responding calmly rather than blowing up and also sticking to my guns when required!

Chris said the other day that it reminds him of the parable of the persistent widow, this is the ESV (English Standard Version) of Luke 18:1-8:

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.  He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.  And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’  For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”  And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.  And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

So! there is a lesson in there with our nagging, annoying toddler who is also wonderfully comical and funny and serious, standing there with his hands on his hips telling me to stop talking or to get off my computer,or demanding another story or food or milk or attention or to play with him.

God asks us to pray persistently, to cry out to him, to keep going, to pester him! As Heidi Baker said in her talk on Sunday at our Catalyst festival, God loves to play with his kids. And I can learn a lot through our challenging toddler. A lot more than I have written here!

What would happen if we really prayed? and prayed? and prayed? and prayed? what would happen if we spent quality time with God, got to know Him more, if we LOVED spending time with Him. This is my aim for this year again.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37.4)

He also changes the desires of our hearts… Oh Lord, I delight in you, I love you, thank you for everything, thank you for the fact that Jesus lived the life we cannot live, died the death we deserve and rose again from the dead to give us back our relationship with God and to give us eternal life. Thank you that with you death is defeated and we rise with you into the lives we should have had originally and come to know you, our maker, our reason for living, our everything.

Finally, one of my favourite parts of the bible, the beginning of John, (John 1:1-5 ESV) I find it really dramatic, I can almost see the words going up on a screen at the start of an epic adventure film:

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

He was in the beginning with God. 

All things were made through him,

and without him was not any thing made that was made. 

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

Jesus is the answer to everything!

My posts are like buses, nothing for ages, then a load at once….

 

 

Update..

I think it’s been a week since I last wrote anything, it seems more like a month. We’ve been camping at our church group’s festival at Stoneleigh and I both loved and hated it. Both children were poorly whilst we were there, our three year old decided sleeping wasn’t for him, well, definitely not in the tent and the baby had quite a temperature and I was really worried at times. However, it also showed me what an awesome family God places us in when we let Him and the love and care and company we’ve had whilst we’ve been there has been awe inspiring. Going to these things is so different when you’re married and have little ones. I went to the first one 5 years ago, 5 months before I got married and at that time I was able to just do whatever I wanted and be fully involved. So things have changed but I don’t think for the worse, I think they’re different and God has worked in us and spoken to us despite not being able to concentrate on preaches or worship. We have to remember He isn’t constrained by anything, He is God. We just think we are constrained, when we actually have Jesus living in us and He can do anything.

In relation to our house we’d had a lull for a week in regard to viewings. However! since Tuesday, it’s gone mad. Quite a few seem promising, and have been back for second and one even a third look. Although I am learning you cannot often tell what people actually think from what they are like when they’re with you. I always thought I was good at reading people, turns out I’m not that good.  The croft we first saw on Shetland is still on the market, we thought we’d lost out as a closing date was set, however, there were no offers so we may be back on!

It is quite exciting, Chris is travelling out in a couple of weeks with his dad to view the croft. They’re going to drive up to Aberdeen, get the overnight Northlink ferry to Lerwick, drive to see the house and croft and then drive back to Lerwick to again get the overnight ferry back to Aberdeen. I LOVE the sound of doing this, but it just wasn’t practical for me to do it. So Chris has got the privilege. I’ll try and get him to take photographs to put up on here. I rang the owner of the croft to book the viewing, he has such a beautiful voice! and I could understand him which is always a bonus.

We are also going out to the Orkney’s fairly soon for a family holiday and to look at ‘properties’, I am so looking forward to taking the journey there, we love the ferries, it is so exciting travelling there, first from Scotland to mainland Orkney and then from Kirkwall in Orkney to Sanday. We’re looking forward to seeing the difference in the landscape and wildlife from April which is when we last went to now and also the difference in weather and light! Also looking forward to a bit of a break maybe.

Haha – in relation to potentially becoming crofters, I’ve been reading this morning about butchery, tanning sheep hides and spinning your own wool. More to come on that possibly….:D stoneleigh

over and out!

Cathy

Children and kangaroos

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just a quick lighthearted one today.  We were driving through country lanes earlier, I was listening to my three year old who was saying  “Look mummy a cow, a tractor, a big digger, I want to be a farmer..” Do you? That’s good. “Yes mummy, look, a kangaroo!” Me – is it hopping along? Three year old – yes it is mummy. On looking at him you could see he actually could see a kangaroo, he was smiling delightedly at the field looking at where the kangaroo was. Kids are brilliant.

After having a quiet time on the house front over the past week,  we now have two more viewings booked in.  Yippee. And then off to our church festival for a few days camping soon. Double yippeeeeeeeee. Heidi Baker is speaking… Oh yes!…

 

My husband

image.jpegI feel like I need to talk about Chris. ” an ode to Chris” ❤️

I haven’t always been and am often not what I would call a good wife, it’s been a steep learning curve on how to share my life, how to give rather than take, what it means to  love and be with someone and it’s one I’m nowhere near skilled at yet. But you know what, this is for keeps, we made a promise to each other and to God when we got married and I think if we always act from this perspective then in the long run all will be well.

I’m not always good at showing respect, I’m impatient, I expect my needs met rather than looking to what my role should be and how to love others well. And I think God is often prompting me in a kind and gentle manner saying “listen” “watch” “don’t react quite so quickly”, and I think He Says “first and foremost you are mine”, “look at me first”. I love psalm 27:8 – you have said, “Seek my face.”My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” And proverbs 3:5-6 “trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He will make straight your paths”.

We are two imperfect people attempting to do life together permanently. Because that’s the way it should be. And it’s only through Gods love and mercy and the forgiveness we have through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that we can do this and keep forgiving and loving because of the love and forgiveness we have known through Jesus. It may not always look like that. Or feel like that. But that is how it is. Gods grace is awesome.

Chris is gentle and kind, he is hard working and thorough. He is a loving dad and has a wicked sense of humour. He is practical and can make things and fix things in a way I really don’t understand. Whatever he undertakes  he is wholehearted about it. He loves God and sometimes battles with self doubt. (He also loves rc planes and fpv) He is Chris, he is awesome, he is precious and he is loved.

When God talks about love he says if there is any excellence, look at that. I so often don’t, I so often focus on bad stuff, but that’s not Gods way and I think He is a slowly coaching me through this. I love that He gets us completely and loves us exactly how and where we are. He also loves us so much that He doesn’t just leave us there.

Night!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2LZEfOvs0T5X1esnkyRmAw (This is Chris’ YouTube Channel, I think he would love people to take a look) #drones #rc #aeroplanes