Wednesday, 29 May 2013

20 years of ministry

I hadn't realised it myself.
I'm not very good with dates, and years, and anniversaries.

But yesterday my Facebook Timeline was full of it.
It's 20 years since we were commissioned and ordained.
28th May 1993
at The Royal Albert Hall, London.

As I listened to 'Our Songs'
The ones written for us,
and for the occasion
I became a bit nostalgic.

As I looked at the video
And saw my friends and colleagues
I almost felt a pang of grief
For the people we were
The things we shared.

But this is a letter to the 25 yr old girl I was then
From the woman I am now

"You made it!
By the skin of your teeth at times but you got there in the end.
And this ending
Full of brass,
and drums,
and singing
and laughter
and drama
and dance
is just the beginning.

In the years ahead you will know joy
Real joy
Laughing so hard no sound comes out.

Friendships that are only in their infancy here
Will become your anchor in the days ahead.

And people that you found it difficult to live with in this environment
Will return to your life
And you will laugh,
and share once more.
They will be the people who know...
When there are no words.

Sadly
There will be sorrow.
Deep, deep sorrow.

Days when you feel so misunderstood you could scream.

Times when you could gladly punch the person that is standing in front of you.

There will be times when you want to take off your uniform and burn it.

Enough

No more.

Why does it have to be this way?

It's too hard.

And there will be moments when God comes so close it makes you catch your breath.
You can sense Him
Feel Him
Touch Him
And He'll knock you off your feet.

Times when he'll draw near in silence
His arms stretched out to hold you.

And there'll be times when He seems distant.
You'll think He's given up on you too.
But know that in the darkness
"When you cannot feel his hand, trust his heart."

And finally
You are beautiful
Truly beautiful
Not because of what you look like
But because of who's you are.
You are a daughter of the King.

And remember
It's not about what you do

Never that.

It's about who you are.
And you are His.

Hang on in there.

You can't

But He can

And He will

Trust Him"

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Five Minute Friday: View

Five Minute Friday.
Write for 5 minutes, just for the pure love of it.
No editing.
Just write.
Today's prompt is View

GO

Nathan is getting really good on the trampoline.
Front drops
Back drops
Somersaults
Forward ones anyway.
The backwards ones are a different matter.

After falling off the trampoline the other day in the attempt,
he's been a bit nervous.

Photo

Yesterday I stood at the edge of the trampoline.
Watching him closely as he tried.

He improved but he wasn't quite there.

As he came close to the edge I opened my arms.

He saw me

Came towards me

And gave me a kiss.

I'd opened my arms to catch him quicker.

He'd come for a kiss because he loved me.

I spend too much time messing about

Doing my thing

Facing danger at times
Knowing God is on the sidelines waiting to catch when I fall.

Instead I should be running into the arms of Jesus.
In that place I am

Loved

Secure

Safe.

Knowing who I am
I can go out into the world and do what I do.

The view might be different from that vantage point.

STOP Please click to share.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Stones cry out.

The pebbles filled the beach

As far as my eyes could see.
Different shapes and colours and sizes.

Ever since the children were small they've brought them to me.
Some I keep, and some I leave behind.
But look closely around our house and you'll see them.


Photo
Nathan brought me the pink one from a school trip.
The small, beautiful smooth ones are broken bits from a bigger shell.
Interesting....



Stones speak to me of
Reality
Truth
Certainties.

There's something about the fact that they've been
Weathered
Shaped
Formed over millions of years
that connects with my soul.

There aren't many certainties in life
but stones represent a steadfastness.
A faithfulness.







Recently I've started decorating them.
I told a friend I was looking for stones to put scripture verses on,
so he proceeded to try and lift a massive rock
"That's for Psalm 119..."

Scripture for me provides comfort
And solace
And strength.
So combining it with the stones makes sense to me.


Photo
This one was a gift from a friend.

Earlier this week I was stood on the shore.
The tide was out further than I had seen before.
Sand was beneath my feet
In place of the usual pebbles.

I had in my hands about five stones
Of all shapes and sizes.
And my thoughts turned to God
And my life
And the things I need answers to.
You know when you just want things to be settled for once?

And God said

"Empty your hands...

Get rid of the stones.

I've got something better for you."


And I said...

But

But they're really nice ones.
And there's a heart-shaped one
which would be perfect for our anniversary...

"Throw them down."

And I did.                                                                       

Reluctantly

Slowly

One

By

One.

Even the heart-shaped one.

And I lifted my empty hands to God
And asked him to give me what he had for me, for us.


When I walked back up to where Chris was sat
he had about half a dozen stones for me to look at.
He rarely does that.

So I chose from what he had for me.

And the significance wasn't lost on me.

"As children bring their broken toys, with tears, for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because he was my friend.
Impatient though, I snatched them back
And said
"You are so slow!"
"My child" He said,
"What could I do?
You never would let go."

And on our way home we had to make a phonecall.
And guess what?
I don't have the answers to all my questions
But it would seem that God has it in hand....


Friday, 17 May 2013

Five Minute Friday: Song

It's our Silver Wedding Anniversary on Tuesday.
25 years.

I told someone the other day and she gasped,
and said, "You don't look old enough"
Which is absolutely the right response.

We're having a few friends over next Friday night to celebrate.
There will be food
And dancing
And fun
And song.

'Our song' to be precise.
As we met in the 80's,
Our song is 'Solid' (Ashford and Simpson).

It's the song we used to dance to at parties.
It's the song that made us laugh.
It's the song we always talk about when reminiscing.

Our 25 years together hasn't been perfect
You won't be surprised to hear that.

There has been much joyful song.

But sometimes the notes have turned dischordant.

Sometimes we've sung in a minor key.

More recently we have sung songs of lament.

But to mis-quote Gloria Gaynor
We have survived.
We're still standing (Elton John)
And we're still singing from the same hymn sheet.

So Chris,
If you read this.

Thank you for always being there.
For being a wonderful father to our three boys.
For being my protector.
My defender.
My clown.
My friend.

I love you.
And look forward to making more beautiful music with you!


That was then!



This is now!


Friday, 10 May 2013

Five Minute Friday: Comfort

Comfort.

Even the word is somehow....

Comforting.

I envision soft blankets
A cushion or two
Or six or seven.

The sound of waves pounding on the beach...
A river...
or at the very least a stream.

Family, or very close friends.
At least one little one who doesn't mind snuggling up.
My boys don't mind at home
But draw the line in public.

Back to the little one
Who cuddles in close
Tight hold
Cheek to cheek as I breathe in their scent.

The sun
Present, but not too fierce.
Warming, but not stifling.

Music
Familiar but not overwhelming.

What have I forgotten?

My very old calendar has this verse for my birthday.
(Yesterday)
I read it today and smiled.

The Lord will guide you always;
He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
And will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
Like a spring whose waters never fail.

Isaiah 58:11

Comfort.

Oh and don't forget the chocolate!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Spinning around like Kylie.

I don't know if I should admit to liking Alan Carr 'Chatty Man'
He's a bit near the knuckle at times, but is also very funny and has great guests.

He makes me smile as he comes down the stairs at the start of the show and says
"What a week it's been!"

That's a bit how I feel at the moment.
"What's new?" I hear you cry....

The last few weeks have been quite eventful with

Revision (Not me, Joel)
Illness
Running (Yes me. I know!)
Important, exciting but confidential news.
Sleeplessness (Not me, Ryan)
Friends
Barbecues
Scoring goals (Not me, Nathan)
Sunshine
Dodgy knees (Me again.)
Hail
Wind and Rain
New things
Old things revisited
Teeth knocked out, again (Not me, Joel)

And so it goes on...

In the middle of it I had a bout of labyrinthitis.
It's nothing to do with David Bowie,
But everything to do with your inner ear.

So if I turned over in bed,
Or turned my head too quickly,
Or at a certain angle,
My world resembled the spin cycle on the washing machine

Think Kylie
"I'm spinning around..."

Isn't that what life is like for us all
Some, if not most of the time?
Who was it said "Stop the world, I want to get off?"

And is it just me that sometimes finds myself praying fervently
'Maranatha'
(Come Lord Jesus)?

I'm tired of earth
Bring heaven.
And soon!

A friend sent me a message earlier this week.
She prays for me when she feels God draws her to.
We laugh as she feels drawn most days...

But amongst the things she sent me that God had said to her was Colossians 2:1-3

"Know that I'm on your side, right alongside you.

You're not in this alone.

I want you woven into a tapestry of love,
in touch with everything there is to know of God.

Then you will have minds confident
and at rest,
focussed on Christ, God's great mystery.

All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge
are imbedded in that mystery and nowhere else. 

And we've been shown the mystery."


Our spin cycle continued.
(Not literally. A run cured the labyrinthitis..)

And on Monday my beloved Aunty Vivienne left this world.

I echoed the words of my sons for more than a few moments
"Why do bad things keep happening to us?"
"Isn't it another family's turn?"

And I added my own when I knew Vivienne only had a few days
"I can't tell these children any more bad news."

God says

"Know that I'm on your side. You're not in this alone."

And in Exodus 14:14 "I will fight for you".

God is on our side.

He will give us all we need.

Often, just a moment at a time.

We're not in this alone.

"I want you woven into a tapestry of love."

I can feel some more post-it's coming on!