Wednesday, 31 July 2013

On choosing to forgive.

So....
This is a bit of a tricky one.
I don't want to offend anyone,
But in the interests of honesty
And my desire to be real
I feel I need to write.

You see I can be quite good at bearing a grudge.
I feel resentment quite easily.
Jealousy rears it's ugly head too often in my life.

And over the past few weeks I've returned again and again to people I thought were my friends, but have hurt me.

You see I'm a nurturer.
My maternal instinct takes over and I want to fix people.
And that's what happens over and over.

I open our home
Our family life
And our ministry
to people that don't have the kind of support network I do.
Maybe it's a form of gratitude?
A kind of 'freely you have received...freely give?'

And I always thought that was ok.
It's who we are.
It's what we do.
If I was trying to impress, I called it incarnational ministry.

But the problem is that people move on.
Perhaps they don't need us in quite the same way anymore.
Their circle of friends widens.
But I thought I was a friend too.

Or even
when I've needed them to be there for me
They are no-where to be found.

And then the questions come
What did you expect?
Who did you think you were?
You were useful for a while but they've moved on to bigger and better things.

And that's when the jealousy starts:
Of their new lives
Their new friends
Even their new church
They always seem to come up smelling of roses.

And I hate myself for being that kind of person.

Today I was reading the psalms.
Mainly Psalm 18.
It speaks of God being our rock
Our place of safety
Our protector
Our defender.

It speaks of enemies who attacked me at a moment when I was in distress
but God led me to a place of safety. (v18)
'Attack' is a bit strong,
But I was in deep distress
And they were no-where to be found.

v46 says 'He is the God who pays back those who harm me.'
But the truth is I don't want revenge.
I don't want 'pay-back'
I want to change the way I feel when I hear their names.

So this morning I prayed for them by name.
And I parcelled all my feelings for them up
and asked God to take the burden from me.
I prayed for forgiveness.
For light and life where those dark places had been.

They haven't asked for my forgiveness.
And if you're feeling nervous reading this don't!
It's not you!

So I guess what I'm asking is this:
Can you relate?
Am I the only one?
Do you have any advice?
What do you do in these circumstances?
And if you feel I need to get a grip I'd like to know that too!!
Please post a comment on the blog below so we keep it all together.
Thank you my friends

Friday, 26 July 2013

Five Minute Friday: Broken

It's Friday.
The day we write for the love of writing.
5 minutes.
Today's prompt is 'Broken'
GO

I heard the smash from the next room.
It couldn't be helped, the cupboard is too full of mugs
All stacked higgledy-pigggledy.
So a fall is inevitable.
Unless your reflexes are really good.
And your catching better.

I breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn't a 'special' one.
There are anniversary ones
Valentine's day ones
Mummy ones
All in there with the ordinary ones.

But it wouldn't be the end of the world would it?
It's just ' stuff'.
And mugs can be replaced.
And things can be glued back together.

And God?
He holds all the pieces of my brokenness
In his outstretched
Scarred
Worn
Tender
Gentle hands.

He puts me back together over and over again.
And through my brokenness
His light shines more brightly.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

And grace?

Those that read yesterday's blog know my dilemma.
And today has been weird.

A kind of who am I?
Whose am I?
Who is mine?

And tomorrow I run.
5k as a novice.
I'll get a medal for the first time in my life.
And that feels strange too.

And my boy-man
The thoughtful one who oozes kindness from every pore
Comes and hugs me
And holds me
And says nothing
There are no words.

"And the real mystery of grace is that it always arrives in time.
Like the wind, grace finds us wherever we are
And won't leave us however we were found."
(Ann Voskamp)

Grace.
Just grace.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Five Minute Friday: Belong

Five Minute Friday
Belong

Today I'm not sure where I belong.
Yesterday I was the leader of a church.
Next Thurs I'm joining the leadership team at a different church.
Today I'm nowhere
Of no fixed abode
A lady of leisure
A shepherd without her sheep.

The truth is I know exactly where I belong.
Mum to my boys
Wife to my man.
Shepherds don't lose their sheep over night.
It's going to take some readjustment.

Daughter of the King.
Holy.
Dearly loved.
Precious
Honoured
That's who God says I am.
In His arms is where I belong.

Friday, 12 July 2013

A bit of Eschatology

So here it is.
In about 48hrs from now we'll have had our final Sunday as The Salvation Army officers in Caterham.
Truth be told, I'm dreading it.
I have been all week.

To put some perspective on it I'm the child of Salvation Army Officers.
When I was young we moved home and church every 2 or 3 years.
The place I regard as my home church was only mine for seven years.
And we've been here for 11.

Not long by some people's standards
But by mine...
That's almost a quarter of my life as leaders of this church.
11 years of
living
laughing
loving
leading
praying
playing
being fully present in this place.

And if I'm honest I spent a few hours on Tuesday in deep distress.
It was only later that I realised this was like another bereavement to me.
Another loss
Another change.

Wednesday dawned brighter.
I went to an exercise class.
And received the call that Nathan had injured himself yet again.
I knew it probably meant yet another trip to hospital.

So driving back I prayed
And the Spirit came
And he stirred
I prayed fervently
I laughed joyously
And I had to pull over before I was arrested for careless driving.

And our God.
I AM.
God not in the past
Not in the future
but right here right now...

He sent our friends as his messengers today to tell us three things.

1. There will be grief but it will be OK.

2. This isn't an ending, but a new beginning.
He has wonderful things in store.

And most importantly, for me anyway,

3. The seeds we have planted over the past 11 years have roots that go deep.
They will not fail.
We have not worked in vain, even though the last year has brought changes in the church that we didn't forsee.

As we face our Last Things on Sunday
Please pray for us.

But join me in thanking God for his faithfulness,
his vibrancy and his promptings.
For friends that love us enough to share what He says.
And for the knowledge that he has it all sorted.