Wednesday, 27 February 2013

40 Days of Feasting -Enough

Just a little post tonight.

Do you ever feel judged?
Lacking somehow?

As if no matter what you do it's never enough?

Me too.

You know God NEVER sees us that way.

Grace says we are enough because He is.

Don't let the enemy steal our joy.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

40 Days of Feasting: On going for a swim.

We've been away for a few days.
We stayed in a lovely hotel.
We stay there quite a lot as a family member works there.
And the best thing about staying in a hotel?

Free stuff!

I love it all!
The teeny bottles of toiletries that probably belong in the value aisle.
The pen, the tea and coffee, the biscuits and the slippers...
And of course the buffet breakfast.
You know, the one where you tell the children to eat as much as they possibly can as you're not buying lunch.

In line with my 40 days of feasting I decided I would enjoy what was offered,
but not stockpile stuff so they'd replace it...
Or is that just me?

So it's been a lovely few days.

This hotel also has a Leisure Club.
Every day the boys wanted to go down and make the most of the facilities.

Now I love swimming.
In the old days (before children), I used to swim three times a week.
But now it often feels like too much effort. And the whole getting wet business....

On one of the days I sent Chris and the boys on ahead.
I was tired, and my magazine was calling me.
But as I sat there
In the desperately needed silence
I realised that we were very fortunate to stay in that hotel.
It was a real blessing.
The Leisure Club was part of that blessing.
And maybe, just maybe, I needed to push myself a bit.
Think how much my body needed the exercise.

It's a tricky one isn't it?
Not the 'to swim or not to swim' issue.
But the tension between rest, recovery and moving on.

Last night I read Psalm 16.
It's one of my favourites but these verses took on new meaning:

My heart is glad and my tongue rejoices
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

The 'realm of the dead' has been a place we know well
But it's not a place to stay, and He hasn't abandoned us there.
Instead he draws us into his presence.

I want to be where God is.
Whatever that means for me in terms of my work, my leisure, my family...
That's where I want to be.

"You will fill me with joy in your presence"

And couldn't we all do with a bit of that.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

40 Days of Feasting: On Not Crying at Les Mis

I don't cry at films.
I told someone rather smugly once that "I saved my tears for real life."
Big mistake.
She'd been referring to 'Titanic'.
She then told everyone that I only had compassion for things that affected me....
Lesson learned.

So anyway I've seen Les Mis three times.
The first time was with two close friends.
One blubbed, the other didn't (and she's a real cryer).
Nothing from yours truly.

The second time was with Mum and my hubby.
Mum started crying at 'Empty chairs at empty tables'
It was only to be expected as she lives with Dad's empty chair every day.
I held her hand.
I got goosebumps at the end.
But no tears.

The third time was today.
Chris and I went again.
It was kind of a test I suppose.
I'd decided to blog about not crying at Les Mis anyway.
I smiled to myself when Corsette sang about her castle on a cloud where tears were not allowed.
I had song lyrics like
'All cried out' (Alison Moyet) and "Some just go too deep for tears" (Crystal Gayle?)
at the ready.

But this time was different.
I had several moments when I was 'on the verge' but nothing.
Then came the final scene.
The father was dying.
The daughter believed he would live.
Corsette's Mum came back to tell him it was time to lay his burden down...
To rest...
To be with God...

And the floodgates opened!
Tears streamed down my face.
I knew how Corsette felt.
I didn't believe my Dad would die either.

In my 40 Days of Feasting I am embracing the tears.
I cry loads.
I've even learnt to cry silently.
I used to be a real sniffler.
It wasn't pretty.

But tears are a very real part of who I am at the moment.
If you're talking to me and I well up, it's not you.
It's me.
Tears are healing...
Tears are cleansing....

And God?
God 'collects our tears in a bottle' Psalm 56:8
He knows our tears are of value
To us...
To Him...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

40 days of Feasting.

It's the first day of Lent today.
That will be why I cooked 37 pancakes last night.
Yes just for the 5 of us, Ryan & Nathan were having a competition.

I had the obligatory thoughts about what, if anything, I should give up...
Chocolate, cakes, biscuits, the usual suspects.

But after a chat with someone this morning I've decided to arrive at Easter by a different route this year.

Instead of giving up something I enjoy ie. chocolate,
Why don't I give up thinking that I have to put myself through it?
Why don't I give up using words such as ought, and should, and their opposites?
Why don't I give up feeling guilty about things I don't need to?
Why don't I give up viewing chocolate as something that should be forbidden because I'm overweight?

Why don't I start making time to read what I really want to read?
To be quiet when I have nothing to say?
To pray when I want to speak to the one who loves me best of all?
To rest when I need to rest?

Does that sound selfish?

Be honest.

Is it ok for you to let me do these things, but selfish if you were to do these, or their equivalents yourself?

Someone told me again today, that you have to have a sense of self in order to be self-ish.
Is it just me, or do you sometimes lose your sense of self too?

It's easy to do.
Especially if we have
people to minister to,
people to pray with, and for,
people who need our help.

So that's where I am on this first day of Lent.
Instead of 40 days of Fasting,
I'm embarking on 40 days of Feasting.
Not necessarily on food, though that may feature.
But more to give myself a break.
To discover again who I am 'in Christ'.
To draw closer to Jesus who, in the wilderness, drew closer to his Father,
and, it could be argued, discovered again who He was, and why He was there.

I'm done with beating myself up, or giving others that privilege.
I'm claiming my inheritance now.
I am God's Princess.
Let the Feasting begin!

Join me on the journey?
I have no idea where I'm going with this.
But I'd be glad of the company.

What are you going to give up, in order to give yourself a break?
Please comment or leave your details as a follower of this blog (Top right corner)
so we can journey together!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Five Minute Friday: Bare

Today I took the Five Minute Friday challenge  from Lisa-Jo Baker:

Got five minutes? Let’s write. Let’s write in shades of real and brave and unscripted.
Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right or not.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Go buck wild with encouragement for the five minuter who linked up before you.
Won’t you give me your best five minutes for the prompt: Bare

'The king is in the altogether, the altogether, the altogether
He's altogether as naked as the day that he was born'

It's one of those songs I've always remembered.
It's from the film, 'The Emperor's new clothes' (Hans Christian Anderson)

The morals are clear:
Thinking yourself better than you are.
Being so big for your boots that you can be made a fool of.

But that's naked.
Bare is something different.
Bare is about everything being stripped away.
Physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Being laid bare sounds cold, harsh, revealing.

I don't like being naked.
I'm overweight.
Mid forties.
Have more chins than I should have.
I know what to wear to make the best of what I have.
But naked is something else.

Bare though, I can deal with.
The multiple bereavements of the past 10 months have felt likeeverything was being stripped away.
My family.
My work.
My church.
My routine.

'When you come to the end of yourself, you can touch the beginning of God's love'
(Joy Webb)
I'm beginning to come to terms with being bare.
Being real.

But naked?
Come back when I've lost three stone!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

On starting a new notebook.

I love a new notebook.
Especially when it's pink and has butterflies.
I also love the fact that I get to write in it with my pink fountain pen which I thought I'd lost.
It feels special because it's ink and not biro.
It gives the writing some gravitas somehow.

I remembered today that Mum and Dad bought me this pen when I graduated in 2009.
I'd forgotten the significance of it.
It brought a moment of grief when I remembered.
But Dad liked a nice pen too; especially a fountain pen.

Dad had recently had a stroke.
He was happy inside but couldn't show it in his face! 

I love the written word.
I love to write
To read
To hold a pen
To turn the pages of a book.
Technology is great, but sometimes it's good to get back to basics.
In our faith too....

As I start this note book I'm filled with
And somehow a sense of well being.
A bit OTT I know, but it's a bit like the start of a new term;
When you wrote your name really neatly on the front of a new exercise book;
And used your best handwriting on the first few pages.
A fresh start.

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

My #OneWord365 is Content.