Friday, 25 October 2013

Five Minute Friday: Together

It's Friday. That day where we write for the pure joy of writing.
Then we link up here http://lisajobaker.com/category/five-minute-friday/
Why not join in?
Today's prompt is TOGETHER

"We're all in this together
One sweet note that we are, we're all stars..."

I can still do the dance routine.
The one we learnt as a team
Ready to share with the children coming to camp.
There's a togetherness that comes from sharing that kind of experience.
When sleep is scarce
But laughs are abundant
And God-moments come from all kinds of places.

And this week I remembered another kind of togetherness.
The links between fellow-travellers
The connectedness
The encouragement
The sharing
The prayers

The tears that spring to eyes as I remembered
We truly are all in this together
We Jesus-followers
We Salvationists
We officers who form "the leadership team of The Salvation Army."

We know...
The joys
The sorrows
The pain
The blessings
The hardships
The loneliness
The camaraderie
The in-jokes

We know that God has promised never to leave us.
We're all in this together.

High School Musical anyone?

Thursday, 17 October 2013

On keeping perspective.

I am sticking my neck out on this one.
I don't do this often.
And it concerns a Bi-annual event which all Salvation Army officers in the UK attend.
It's held in a lovely setting in Swanwick, Derbyshire, so that's what we call it.
We attend one of five identical sessions which last for two days.

It's a place that holds many memories, good and bad.
There are apocryphal tales of terrible food and accommodation.
Of single rooms and one bathroom with no shower between 20 people.
That last is true.
I am enough of an old Major to remember...

I guess the thing that concerns me most is the statement of those who have already been this year.
"We're finally being listened to by leadership"

Firstly, as SA officers aren't we the leadership?
We're the ones who meet the people and make the changes and share God's love.
One question and answer session isn't going to alter that.

Secondly, the implication is that we haven't been listened to before.

Well I have.

I've known territorial leaders who were so pleased to see me, their arms were outstretched for a hug.
I've known leaders who have known my name, without my name badge.
And more than that they've known the names of my children,
Or at least what gender they were.

They've known where I live, and work, and minister,
And some of my concerns.
They've even known who my parents are, and how they are.

I've known men and women of God who have impacted my life,
and the life of the UK territory in which I serve.

Please don't misunderstand me.
I have heard nothing but good about the Terrritorial Commanders.
I love the reports that they're 'human', as in they don't seem to be standing on ceremony.
But they are just that.
Human like you and me.
Called by God to love and serve him.

I thank God for all who have gone before.
And I look forward to Swanwick.
We go on Monday!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Five Minute Friday: Ordinary

It's Friday. That day where we write for the pure joy of writing.
Then we link up here http://lisajobaker.com/category/five-minute-friday/
Why not join in?
Today's prompt is ORDINARY

I love ordinary.
The everyday.
The normal.
A bit of routine.

Hanging out the washing.
Reading a book.
A cuddle with my boys
Working at the computer.

I once heard someone say
"Do the ordinary well. And be ready for the critical moment"

It was a long time ago.
But I remember.
It resonated.
And now
All these years later
I know the truth.

That with God nothing is ordinary
He transforms everything

As I watch
And wait
And look above
He changes the ordinary moments into God moments.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Forever blowing bubbles

"I'm forever blowing bubbles
Pretty bubbles in the air"

Sing along if you know it.
But if you're singing it at Upton Park,
The home of West Ham United,
You'll have to sing it
Very loud,
Very deep,
And with a London accent.
It's the law.
Sorry.

A few weeks ago a family led a lovely prayer time at our church.
They used the idea of bubbles being like our prayers.
As the bubble machine brought forth thousands of bubbles
They reminded us that our prayers are like bubbles.
We can't hold on to them.
We need to let them go into God's hands.
And when they burst that's like the moment of surrender.

I really liked that
Especially as through the service we kept seeing stray bubbles
Floating around as if from no-where.
Stray prayers...

Then at West Ham in the following week
There were lots of bubbles.
We were praying hard then too!

Last night I thought about a different kind of bubble
One that I place around myself in difficult situations.
Maybe you do it too?

I had to go to something that before our new roles,
I had always attended with 'my shield at my right hand'
aka Chris, my husband.

As I was getting ready my anxiety levels rose
I was glad that Mum came with me,
But that whole evening felt as if I was viewing it from within a bubble
Or more like a plastic shield.
I wanted to be part of it.
But nothing was getting through that barrier.
It was intended to protect me from tears;
But it ended up blocking everything.

Sometimes I think I'd like to live my life in my own personal bubble.
I could pop in there with my family and we'd be safe
Secure
Nothing could touch us
Hurt us
Harm us.

But in my quest to be 'real'
That wouldn't work either.
Being salt and light, sadly doesn't involve spiritual salt cellars.

I asked God lots of questions this morning.
And I have even more questions than I started with.
But isn't that the way?

And being in His presence helped
No surprises there.
God doesn't often give us answers;
But He gives us Himself.

Today has held much weariness
tears
laughter
comfort food
hugs that say a thousand words
reminders that some things are still too soon...
And to be as gentle with myself as I am with others

And the bubbles?

I'll keep praying them
Singing them
Hoping them
And trying...
To release them into the hands of the one who holds me.