Stop worrying, stop running.

I did a hard thing this week. I told the lovely church who had taken me in that I wouldn’t be going back there.It has been my oasis in a desert place. I did some enforced “stocktaking” in my life and it became apparent that I was in the wrong place. I had quickly got involved with all the areas where the Church had needed help,I joined a wonderful house group and met some truly amazing folk.

Last week, I got a virus and got stung by a wasp at the same time. I am quite allergic to wasp stings and although I was stung on my knee my leg swelled up from knee to ankle and my joints ached for a few days. The result was that I had to sit still for a while. It was then that it dawned on me that since the marriage break up I had filled my days with “doing”. If I was busy busy busy I hadn’t got time to think about it. I could put on a brave face, stiff upper lip and all that and the days passed without anything hurting.

Then I stopped and God asked me what I thought I was doing, and I realised that I was just hiding somewhere busy because then I didn’t have to face up to what had happened. I am allowed to feel angry, disappointed and any other emotion that hits me because He is big enough to deal with it and heal it. By trying to ignore how I was feeling, I was not able to move forward as I thought that I was doing.

I had also been cycling into the next town to Church because I felt uncomfortable at the reaction I had had at the local church, but as I have thought about it, it was probably me, not them that was not at ease.I was reading something that C.S. Lewis had written, a part of “The Screwtape Letters”. Srewtape is an old experienced devil who writes to his young nephew Wormwood, who has just set out into the business of tempting. The uncle gives instructions on how to thwart the lives of Christians, especially those who are regular church goers.

He writes: ” My dear Wormword,

You mentioned casually in your letter that the patient has continued to attend one church, and one only since he was converted,and that he is not pleased with it. May I ask what you are about? Why have I no report on the causes of his fidelity to the parish church? Do you realise that unless it is due to indifference it is a very bad thing? Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing,the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that “suits” him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches? ”

Feeling at home in a church takes a long time, but I felt compelled to go back to the local church, even though I found it difficult. I felt that God was saying “I want you to rest, to take stock of what’s been going on before I give you something else to do.” So that’s where I went with some trepidation. I was met at the front door by the Minister, still a bit apprehensive I said “Are you sure that you are comfortable with me here?”. The reply was “Yes, of course.” and after the service he told me never to think that way again.

I had also followed the advice of a friend who had told me that she felt that it would be better for everyone if perhaps I left the denomination to which I belonged. She was wrong! The discomfort was hers not the congregations, so if you are in this position too, or something similar commit it to prayer, God will make it plain where he wants you to be , he won’t shout it at you, like me you probably wouldn’t listen, he will lead you gently.

At the end of today’s service was a paraphrase of Matthew 6 33-34 I have quoted it from The Message:

” God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

God says “relax”, stop your worrying, He will work it out for you if you trust him. waterfall god

The Tape of Many Colours.

Looking for work is a job in itself. Each day I sift through job-sites knowing full well that in this area they are updated every fortnight. One particular organisation takes 3 weeks to process any application , then after the interview, if you are very lucky, in another 3 weeks you may hear if you were successful. If you weren’t you are unlikely to hear a “dicky bird”. ( cockney rhyming slang for “word” if you are reading this overseas.)

In the meantime I fill in the little box on the DirectGov site and wonder if anyone really reads it. As I live too far from the Jobcentre to travel every fortnight I duly fill out my “What I Did” sheet ( which reminds me of Primary School work sheets) and post it. I pay for envelopes and stamps mind you.

I did think that when I began working in 1972 that I would be retired by now, but the goal posts keep moving. I will however get my bus pass next year so I will be able to travel to work for free (unless that get changed too).

I had a letter from a young man called Craig who informed me that he would phone me to interview me about my circumstances. The number on which he was going to ring was an ancient mobile number that someone must have dragged out of an old record because I certainly didn’t give it to the “ladies” at the JobCentre.

I rang Craig to tell him that he needed my landline, he obviously wasn’t busy so I said that I could inform him now to save time ,that there was no change in any of my circumstances. Unfortunately Craig cannot take this information just now ,he must ring me on the appointed date and indicated time to ask me again.

I do have a couple more applications in the pipeline but not many people want to employ Grandma, but I shall keep filling in my forms and waiting 3 weeks for someone to say “No thank you.” and I shall probably continue to talk to Craig about nothing in particular.

What fun! as Miranda’s mother says.

On days when I struggle with forgiveness I feel a bit like Joseph when his brothers threw him down a well and sold him off, but look at how that turned out, (“forgive me as I forgive others..” I know, God is working on it with me!)jo

Something to be carried back.

rssThe word “referendum” comes from the Latin and means ” something to be carried back.” It’s a word that has been in the news for months . Yesterday the excitement here in Scotland was almost palpable, my former neighbour rode his motorbike (trike) up the middle of the road with the Satire ,a Yes flag and the Royal Standard of Scotland flowing out behind him like a figure from a “Braveheart” movie. We did I must admit get emotional.
I have only lived in Scotland for about 14 years, my youngest daughter has lived here for most of her life and has a Scottish accent. I was married to a Scot and most of my friends are Scots and after conversations with many of them I decided to vote “YES”.

The atmosphere in the small town where I live is quite sombre this morning. I was stricken with a virus which stopped me sleeping last night, so I listened to Radio 4 and became more and more aware that the vote was not going the way I had hoped. Although over a million people voted for Independence from England.

I was reading from the book of Nehemiah this morning in the Old Testament. He was a bit of a political hero. From a position of leadership he demonstrated perseverance as he saw changes that were needed to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and relieve the suffering of it’s people. He was humble and passionate and was brought to tears by the troubles of his country.

For many days he fasted and prayed and he felt compelled to act. He therefore went to the King to tell him how he felt and what he was inclined to do about it. He went through great hardships and experienced great opposition throughout his project. Just taking it to the King was hard enough and he risked his life.

Nehemiah led by example, he lent money without charging interest, he worked “hands on” along side his workers, as well as doing the administration. He was not paid, but instead used money that he had saved to house and feed those with him. Politicians could learn much from his example.

He acknowledged that all institutions on earth are under the sovereignty of God and he used political structures to get things done.

As Christians we come under earthly authority, we have to accept the majority decisions, this is democracy,but we have the option to pray, to use the power of the name of Jesus to bring about change for the good of others. We can rebuild cities, come against oppression of the poor  and “seek first the Kingdom of God.”

This is what we can “carry back”, the knowledge that we are all unique human beings , loved and forgiven by our King, and we can step up to the challenge to change the things that are hurtful to others. A “Yes” vote for love.

( Thanks to” Christians in Politics”, where I researched some of this)

Come out to play!

Today I had the privilege of helping out at a Mother and Toddler group. It  was something I did weekly when my children were small, and not much has changed .

Children raced around while Mum’s and Dads  drank tea. Small people tottered around balancing precariously on slides, rocked each other into the air on the see-saw and careered around the church in a pink car. Towards the end of the session they got a bit more adventurous and walked their babies in their pushchairs to the front door, so I became a gatekeeper, plus a mediator in a custody battle over one “baby”. I also had to retrieve said baby from the arms of it’s carer as she was leaving the building, which resulted in her being carried to the car park on her mother’s shoulder screaming and I felt terrible.,

Another small boy with beautiful curly hair and a smile that will charm the fairer sex in a few years time , was a button pusher. Now, I am experienced in this, my youngest daughter was a button pusher, any shop alarm, heating appliance and so on with an accessible button was fair game. When  this little chap saw a parent leave by pushing a button ,which opened the door automatically ,his eyes grew wide and I could read his mind. He smiled  disarmingly and said “My Daddy is out there. ” Sorry laddie ,I have 6 children  myself and  know nearly every ploy so I am not so easily fooled.A bit of diversion therapy was necessary here tho ugh he did have a go at the lift buttons on the way back to Mum.

It was a good morning and playing is easy. We should all play more, whatever you like to do, painting,photography cycling or whatever, playing keeps you young! Thanks kids for a fun morning,see you next week!plag


Interview Day.

cartoonToday I went back to school. It was rather a nice school,although they tell me it is going to be rebuilt in the next two years. The pupils that I spoke to were very polite and the atmosphere was warm.

I gave my details to the receptionist who showed me to the Waiting Area for those about to be interviewed. I sat down opposite a very glamorous lady a bit younger than me. My heart sank as I thought about the opposition I was up against. She looked like a classroom assistant already and had an air of competence about her.

She was ushered off to the interview room, but within about 3 minutes the teacher in-charge was back and asked for me. “Did you think I was a bit quick?” He asked. I admitted I was a bit surprised. He proceeded to tell me that the previous candidate had sat down in the chair and declared that she wasn’t prepared to answer questions and had left. I admitted that it was rather strange behaviour at an interview and said that perhaps she needed her solicitor present. The guy did smile.Maybe the poor woman panicked, though I couldn’t help feeling a bit smug.

The interview room was upstairs, along a corridor, up more stairs and along another corridor, which the PE teacher took at break neck speed. When we reached the interview room, the Deputy Head told me that they had a glass of water for me, I said thank you but I rather felt the need for oxygen!

They asked me 5 questions and they seemed to be using the questions that I had found on a TES site, which was helpful, plus I had asked a retired head teacher friend what I might be asked, and he had sent me a list of the kind of answers I might need. So I answered the best I could, although once in the coffee shop with my small Americano I thought of all the things I should have said.

So now we wait. The first question that I had been asked was; that if offered the post, would I take it. Would I? Oh YES! I said that I had two expensive teenagers to keep, so I hope they take that into consideration too.