Medical care?

The bureaucracy in Ireland is quite outstanding and not in a good way. We got asked to ring HSE about our medical card application yesterday and they’ve asked us to provide a valuation of our house! I’ve looked it up and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for this…the means test shouldn’t include your home…so I’ve emailed them to ask why it’s been requested?? It might be a mistake, but it’s quite a hefty one if it is. The NHS is a beautiful thing you know… value it. I wish they had it here.. or at least a version of it. It’s really wound me up to be honest.

I’ve asked for that application to be stopped until we know what Chris will be earning. (Praise God again that he’s got a job and that he enjoys it!). Then we will apply again.. I don’t get it (the medical system) at all here. It does worry me sometimes when I hear stories about the hospitals, and also how far away they are. Our GP (it has to be said), is brilliant though.

But as God says: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

So this is what I do, daily. I tell him everything (unlike you lot who get the edited version for which you should be truly thankful 😆) and as it says in Phillipians:

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phillipians 4:4-7).

I need to read this more ^ (And practice it)

Gods peace is good. Better then good. Indescribable in some ways, or certainly unexplainable in any other way than it is from Him. It’s certainly my only option. Peace in the midst of uncertainty, in a country which is beautiful but very new to us.

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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.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

last post until Monday – healing

It occurred to me today that I’ve lost my focus a bit in regards to taking opportunities given to me by God. Specifically opportunities to pray for people and declare healing over them.

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18)

selective focus photography of child s hand on person s palm
Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas on Pexels.com

The reason it occurred to me was I’d just taken the dog out with the kids around a local reservoir and in the car park I was sat in the car, another one pulled up with a couple in it and I gave them my parking ticket because there was time left on it. I believe I then missed/did not take a God opportunity that was given me. The man was with his wife and he said at least twice, we are only here briefly to have a look around, we can’t go far because my wife has a dodgy knee. Immediately, “pray” popped into my mind, but instead there was an awkward silence and I said well it is very nice here  and then reversed out and left. Driving up the lane, I knew I should have prayed for her and I nearly went back and again didn’t….

It then occurred to me that I used to look for every opportunity to pray for people, especially for healing and that I hadn’t done this as part of my normal everyday life for quite a while – apart from at home with the children. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a self condemning, “I’m so baaaad” post, it is an observation that I believe the Holy Spirit highlighted to me and is such an opportunity.

So I am going to include any testimonies of prayer, God moving, people being prayed for or not and healings as part of this blog. I am praying and asking now for more opportunities in this area as part of our everyday lives. I love the part where the scripture says “you will lay hands on the sick and they will recover” it says they “will” recover and also it says “recover” and that means they will not always be instantaneously healed on that occasion.

Recovery is an act of restoration, something that Jesus is very good at. If you are sick today, ask him to help you. Also, myself or Chris would love to pray with you or for you. Feel free to post pray requests or message them.

If you read the New Testament there are multiple accounts of Jesus healing the sick and also in my own life since being saved by Jesus I have seen people healed including myself. I would also LOVE people to post in the comments testimonies of their own healing through God.

in my own life – I have had my womb healed and since had two babies, prior to this I had a miscarriage and I do believe there was something wrong with my womb which caused this.

My husband Chris had such a bad back he could hardly bend or move on occasions when I first met him, he was healed, suddenly, without any prayer at all. I had been talking about healing to him the day before and then his back was healed the next day.

I have a friend who was healed from extensive cancer with secondaries.

I have seen someone who could only walk with severe pain then run down the aisle and jump and clap his feet together.

But….I would like to see more…..

The greatest healing of all is actually the gift of salvation, in which healing in every way takes place and you are reunited with God through Jesus sacrifice and resurrection. However, God obviously, (when you read scripture) also wants to heal people from illness and disease. I also know that healing does not always take place, not healing that we see, but I trust God in this and it does not detract from the love and power of God, it just means we do not understand how the big picture works.

There is so much you can say on this subject, it is a massive thing and when you start looking into it there are debates about it, ways recommended of doing it, petitional prayer vs commanding the illness or whatever it is to leave, but I want to keep it simple and just be prompted by the Holy Spirit (God) on how to pray and what to pray for.

I have been fascinated by God healing people for a few years or so now, as a nurse I used to pray when I was dressing wounds, looking after people with terminal illness etc, not always with them knowing, often very quietly, occasionally with them. There was one occasion when I was dressing someone’s leg, she had very extensive skin loss/ulceration to both lower legs and her bed bound husband suddenly sat bolt upright and started singing Abide with me really well and really loudly. It was great.

I love looking at something, say a wound and knowing that God can recreate skin and flesh and make the area new, just at a word. That he can rebuild and renew people, that he can heal anything and anyone, that he can and does cure cancer. I also know (as I have already mentioned) that not everyone gets healed but that God is still good and still wants you to know him.

 

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).

photography of starry sky
Photo by Free Nature Stock on Pexels.com

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.

So it’s Monday again..(this post turned into one about nursing…)

Not that Monday morning makes that much difference to me, I’m a stay at home mum at the moment, so I don’t go back to work on the Monday. I have found being a stay at home mum a very hard experience in such a lot of ways, challenging! Not quite how I originally envisaged it – skipping along in fields covered in daisies etc etc.  However, I cannot express enough how grateful I am for being able to do it and how grateful I am for my children and this time with them.  The days when I was pregnant and rushing around in the morning feeling so sick and tired and then going to work as a district nursing sister with a lot of responsibility and a challenging environment (for a number of reasons, the main one being a lot of work and not enough staff) are over!  for now…

nurse

This was me! 8 years ago!

I do like challenges and I am one of those people who has always worked better under pressure and tends to get a bit lazy sometimes when there is none, but! I think (from experience) you can only sustain high levels of activity and problem solving for a while, then you need a break. If you don’t get one, you either just get tired and keep going anyway, which probably means you don’t work to the best of your ability or you burn out.

I haven’t worked in healthcare now for just over 3 1/2 years but it has been a good break.  The NHS is so good, but there are also so many things wrong with the way it works, and quite frequently in the way it treats its nurses.  Also, in the way the public often treats the nurses, in a lot of ways I found the professional capabilities and decision making skills of the nurses were undermined in favour of a demanding patient, who, for example, wanted their ears syringing and they wanted them doing “now!” even though there may not even be the capacity on that particular day/week/month to do so. Even worse, the demanding ones were quite frequently the ones who could actually make an appointment and get out to a surgery, but did not want to, often because historically they had been seen by the district nursing team. Because of public opinion of the nurses/NHS starting to matter more than the actual team and their capacity/capabilities/professional decision making it had seemed in many ways to be the ‘he who shouts loudest gets the best care service’.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved community nursing, the teams I was part of and the people I met and the patients, whatever they were like. I loved the organisation involved in being the sister in charge of the team and I actually quite often liked the people in management too. I don’t like the whole slag the managers off mentality very much. But it is hard work and when I worked there, the nurses did not have the support they needed. I think this was probably a much bigger issue than the local primary care trust, it was more a funding/national issue. It was always put to you that you could work smarter rather than have more staff and sometimes you could. But it is very hard to work smarter when you are just working fending off phone calls, dealing with low staffing levels, and quite frequently low staff morale, seeing seriously ill patients and always trying, trying, trying to give the best care possible. Exhausting.

So, you community health care professionals out there, you nurses, you doctors, you matrons, specialist nurses, OT’s, physio’s, podiatrists, managers! admin staff and anyone else I have forgotten, you are so talented, so committed, so good at what you do.  Keep on keeping on, do the best you can. You community nurses are some of the most dedicated people I have ever met and it was most definitely a gift to be part of that group, although tough. People need to know that, it is not just meandering around ‘popping’ in to see patients, just to check up on them. It is a serious, professional, skilled job, managing complex patients with various problems and with the addition of all the documentation requirements, very, very time consuming. There are so many challenges, but it is worthwhile, I learnt so much from all the different patients I met over the years, I loved that part of it, meeting them and seeing how we could help them or work with them.

This post did not set out to go on about district nursing, it just turned out like that. My sincerest love to all I have worked with and I just want you to know you are brilliant and God loves you! (had to get that in).