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.

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

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….

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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.

Not much to tell, but hello from Orkney!

Hi! The update on the moving front is that the survey was done on our house last Friday, we don’t know what it says yet but hopefully nothing major. We also asked our solicitor to put an offer in on the house we are interested in on Shetland, but haven’t heard back yet!! It is painful, we have heard nothing. So we are praying that we hear something soon.

We’re now on holiday on Orkney. It is beautiful, it is not nearly as hot as England and there is generally a breeze even when it is warm. Which suits me! The boys are loving it, the three year old has been able to run free around the cottage and on the beach. Chris has done some videos with his drone, click on the link to view one, it’s really good and shows what it is like where we are staying: first flight

IMG_5390This is where we are staying. It’s pretty special.

It is so quiet here, I’m loving the quietness. You go outside and just hear the birds, the sea and sometimes a tractor. You can almost hear the silence when you’re outside. That is something I really needed. God is good.

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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…