Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are?

That is one of my favourite ever nursery rhymes and it is now my sons favourite too. I don’t know much about the planets or stars if I’m honest but I have always just loved the sky, the clouds, the colours, day time sky, night time sky, stars, the moon…. especially the stars….  God determines the number of stars and gives them their names (psalm 147:4).

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Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)

Isn’t that beautiful.

I can remember standing at our back door, probably in the months before I was saved ten years ago, drinking copious amounts of vodka and coke and smoking, looking up at the sky and repeating the rhyme

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.

 

Almost feverishly, over and over

and wishing desperately for all sorts of things, to know love, to meet someone, to be loved, especially to be loved. for life to be made right…. I can remember crying out saying that’s all I want, to be loved….

I can remember repeating it over and over and crying, (in a little bit of a drunken haze, but in genuine spiritual pain), looking up at the stars and crying out to God without even realising it. I needed him and I was asking for help.

And He gave it.

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Pain and Jesus

Publishing this feels really vulnerable, I almost don’t want to because I’m putting my private feelings on display, but I am going to because life and even life with Jesus means we go through pain and suffering and bad times, as well as good.  The main difference is that Jesus is our hope, He is real, He loves you and he cries with you or laughs! with you. He gives you life and does life with you.

The other main difference is that if we try to do what the world tells us to do and fix ourselves, for our joy, our happiness to come from within us, it is an impossible feat, it does not last.  Jesus is the light that enlightens everyone, he is the way in life, the only way to get what feels impossible. He is why you are here.

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I feel in pain still sometimes.

Mental pain

Sadness

It rips my heart apart and I don’t know why

I don’t know the cause

It immobilises me

It makes me look for distraction

It makes me angry

Then He, my Lord, my everything encircles me

He closes in around me

He puts his arms around me

He loves me

He irons out the creases and tells me to rest

He says “look at me” “keep looking”

I do not give as the world gives

I made you

I knew you

I know you

You are mine.

 

The heaven’s declare…

Regarding our house sale, the builder fella came around yesterday to check what needs doing damp proofing wise, he was really friendly and seemed realistic and honest.  So we’re waiting to hear that all is well and our sale is going through.

Not heard anything on the croft since we heard our offer had been accepted in principle, I’ll feel a lot happier once the advert actually goes under offer though. I contacted them  again yesterday to find out what happens next. Whether it officially goes under offer at some point or whether it is because it has been accepted. It is the in principle bit I’m not sure about.

I’m really, really enjoying life on the allotment at the moment, there are turnips growing, sprouts, cabbages (only a few because they got eaten even though they are netted), runner beans flowering, summer and winter squash growing, courgettes, sweetcorn plants, onions, spinach, a few beetroot, lettuce and spring onions. One reason I’m really enjoying it is it seems it is the first year since we got the allotment that I’ve really been able to make a difference and do a lot of the work. It’s because I was pregnant with our toddler when we first got it and since then had the old post natal depression/anxiety /lack of get up and go and then another baby. Life has been busy! But busy is not necessarily bad and now the two boys generally play for a while whilst I do some work. I also LOVE going on with them, being outside is good, for them and for me and our relationship.

The little one has now started bum shuffling (he has got quite fast) and I leave him in one place and look up and he’s in a veg bed with something interesting like mud held between his finger and thumb, on it’s way to his mouth, like the finest delicacy.  Mr toddler is also starting to take an interest in the names of plants and of taking care of the beds and doing things like hoeing etc. I just have to watch he doesn’t dig my plants up. It’s brilliant this year because we never actually got round to planting any potatoes so he has basically got his own patch to play on/dig up/roll around in/learn to garden/whatever he likes.  He has been loving it.

 

We still have our four hens on the allotment too, they’re about 14 months old now, only three are laying at the moment, but one does look like it has been going through a moult, so maybe she will start again. We are going to need to rehome them very soon (it looks like we have found a home for them). I love having chickens, but I think it would be a bit much to take them 700 ish miles with us.

 

We can’t wait to get moved and start getting set up, I love the thought of getting our new chickens there, we will be able to have a rooster too! (we can’t where we are at the moment) and maybe ducks and sheep to start with. We are planning on putting chickens on the vegetable garden to clear it over autumn/winter (depending when we get there) and then sorting that out next year. It is walled but the wall has disappeared under grass, so hopefully we can get the wall uncovered and the house will have a walled garden again.

We have a dream/wish list in relation to the croft, one of which is a large polycrub in which we would be able to grow just about any veg/fruit/flowers we want. The problem in Shetland as far as I am aware is the wind and so a polycrub would be ideal. The only thing is the cost of the polycrub, we are praying that we will be able to get one.

We are also planning/wanting to plant some trees which should be suitable for the area, we have been researching a little on what would be the best options for the area – some of the suitable trees are downy birch and hazel and we should hopefully be able to use these somewhere on the croft as a wind break/shelter as well as having the joy of actually having trees there. There aren’t many on Shetland from what I have heard.  I have seen this week that the woodland trust sell landowner packs of trees and there is a pack called wild wood tree pack which looks ideal, even more so because the ones that are out of stock are not ones we wanted and the ones they are offering are the ones we wanted. So getting and planting these would be so good to do. It’s good that Chris and I are so on the same page with this really, we love planning this sort of thing, the gardens, the land, the trees.

When Jesus was first making himself obvious to me, I had been asking him whether he was real because I was desperate and did not know where to go with my life, I felt like I had no hope. I suppose everything had been made clear to me that “things” and even people just don’t cut it and hiding yourself in things like drinking don’t really work. I can remember driving into the countryside, specifically from Chesterfield into Ashover and praying the Lord’s prayer because it was all I knew regarding prayer really and begging Him that if he really was there to help me and I looked around and the fields and trees and skies had suddenly become brighter and just spectacular, it was in technicolour. So one of the ways he showed me himself was via the outdoors. It was just awesome.

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The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork (Ps 19:1).

I’ve seen some interesting news in the last few weeks as well, Shetland is going to be homing some Syrian refugees, I feel really excited about this, we are still involved with the world! we are not cut off! I have to admit I have been wondering what sort of stuff we will be doing there and dreaming of what God may have for us to do. Dreaming is good, dreams can become reality, especially when you pray them, especially if it is actually God giving you those dreams…

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

I love this prayer. When you actually look at the words and what they mean, it is just brilliant.

(I don’t generally do the whole olde speak thy/thou thing, but I do with this prayer, because it is how I learnt it when I was young, and I like it. But you don’t have to, you can talk to God however you are comfortable, he loves you to talk to him).

See ya!

Sheep, Spinning and Jesus

On Saturday we went to Ashbourne sheep fair, on the recommendation of a friend.  It was brilliant.  They had all different breeds of sheep, brief talks about them, loads of wool at all stages of processing and quite a few people there with spinning wheels, spinning the wool.  They were so friendly and helpful, I saw one lady had a drop spindle which is what I bought recently and exclaimed “a drop spindle, I’ve just bought one and don’t have a clue what to do with it!”, she then showed me and also showed me how to use her spinning wheel and how to tease the wool out. She also advised on the type of spinning wheel to get if we were going to be serious about spinning our own wool. I’m not kidding, the ladies that were doing it were so good at it and it just looked so relaxing. One of them said she sometimes nearly falls asleep whilst she is doing it. Another spinner also talked to me about the best types of wool to use and what not to use to start with (apparently Merino is a difficult one). I so enjoyed it and meeting them. There were a couple there with their Shetland sheep (they don’t live in Shetland) and we spoke to them. We don’t have to have Shetland sheep because we are going to live on Shetland, but they do look ideal, they’re fairly small, they lamb easily, have plenty of milk for their lambs, seem fairly tough and apparently are easy to handle and are nice natured. They are also not prone to foot problems. Their wool is good to work with and according to the people we spoke to they are self shedding which may mean they don’t need shearing, but we need to look into that a bit more. There was another called a Ryeland, which we also quite fancied (as in to keep on the croft to eat the grass and for wool)  it looks a bit like a teddy bear and has good wool for spinning.

focus photo of brown sheep under blue sky
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My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me,  is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30)

Jesus is talking about us and himself in the above writing, I love this passage, it sums up the gospel really, if we know Jesus and put him in charge of our lives, he knows us intimately and we are safe because we have eternal life with him, he is in charge and we are with him and trust him. Nothing and nobody can change this fact, including ourselves. It also says that Jesus is God, which is confusing sometimes, but he is, he came to earth fully man and fully God, put himself at the mercy of humans as a baby and then lived with his family growing up and experiencing all human life, even though he is God. That is quite remarkable. It’s like a king deciding to become part of a normal family but not telling them who he is, just being there with no pride, no thoughts that he is better than anyone else, just being and growing and learning and then starting his ministry in his thirties where he proclaimed the kingdom of God, saved, delivered and healed all who came to him. Well, it is a king doing that actually, the King of Kings!

Jesus ought to be the ultimate feminist icon really, he hung out with, spoke to, healed and forgave women at a time when they were classed as pretty lowly. I love the story of a woman caught in adultery, I’ve always identified quite strongly with this particular story. The Jewish religious people brought a woman to Jesus who they said had been caught in the act of adultery. According to the law, they could stone her, Jesus just seemed to keep really calm and said: let him who is without sin cast the first stone. He was the only one without sin and could have condemned her, stoned her, given them permission to stone her, but he did not – He said:

Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Amen….

It’s a sunny day

It’s a sunny day, I am sat in our living room typing and can see butterflies in the garden, my eldest is staying at the moment, so she has just gone upstairs, littlest is asleep on our bed and toddler is downstairs with me watching Richard Scarry on YouTube, it’s got to go off soon! I keep saying that though. It is a practical day today, shopping, cleaning, playing, cooking, waiting!!! We are still waiting to see if our offer is accepted on the croft. But, as I said the other day, today is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.  I’m glad for all you football nuts that England won the other night, but I’m afraid I don’t watch it or follow it… So here’s wishing you well, I’m sure I’ll know how it’s going by just listening to the street noise on Saturday.  The other night you could hear cheers from various parts of our neighbourhood all at the same time.

So! waiting….

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 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (Lamentations 3:25)

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. (Habakkuk 2:3)

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! (Ps 37:7)

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:18)

etc etc etc…there are tons of scriptures about waiting, these are but a few….our God is good. I’m still checking my emails every few minutes though…hahaha…this is because I am still impatient though, not because God doesn’t do what he says.

 

 

Awaiting response…

After I wrote yesterday’s post, the solicitor emailed us the draft of our offer for us to ok, which we did and so our offer on the croft has now gone in…gulp… So we are just waiting to hear now.  So, probably very predictably I have this morning been questioning whether we are making a huge mistake or a massive amazing leap of good or god ness. I think it’s partly because we watched the first episode of BBC documentary on Fair Isle the other night, Fair Isle: Living on the Edge.  Wow it is full on,  beautiful but full on, but what really got me was that their children have to go away to school on Lerwick, Shetland at the age of 11. I found that really upsetting, so I double checked what it was like where we may be moving and it is fine. It is more like 15/16 when they have to go further for education, which seems a lot better to me.

So, hopefully we should soon know whether we are moving  700 ish miles to the most northerly islands in the UK to what is effectively a smallholding, when we have so far spent our married life in a terrace in Chesterfield, or whether we are not yet moving and still need to find somewhere…. Oooooh….watch this space…and pray…..

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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.