Timeline of Grace

Journey through the Seasons

Author: april (page 1 of 7)

Jars of Clay, Carry on Warrior, and recommending books

So I read Glennon Melton’s “Carry on Warrior”

I’ve read bits of her blog and enjoyed her status updates on Facebook for awhile now. She came to my attention around the same time as Jen Hatmaker came on my radar.

The book is a great read. I loved her story, I love her writing, and I believe  she speaks so much truth.  Yay!

However. *this However makes me cringe*

My evangelical self cannot but help feel not entirely 100% positive about everything she says.  She makes me a little bit nervous!  But then at the same time I have to love and respect someone who simply does not have all the baggage of the evangelical church to balance as they make their way through their faith journey. They write their truth as they experience it and see it and it’s fresh and raw and prophetic and possibly keeps us know it all’s on our toes.

My questioning self who has come to a point where things have not exactly panned out in the way the Evangelical fairy tale promised, who is finding this new wave of Christian women speakers/authors like a breath of fresh air, and who is starting to finally realize that above all, a relationship with God is the goal, not accomplishing some “great thing for God”, finds Glennon’s writing and story very exciting and inspiring, and I’ve found myself recommending her book to my friends.

Actually, to my non Christian friends mainly.

But Then I start to worry. What if they love the book but somehow get the wrong idea about God because Glennon doesn’t exactly have the Roman’s Road approach in her story?  Some of her language  may imply things I’m not sure about exactly and then oh no what if I get in trouble for lending people books that are not Kosher? Eek.

Am I willing to take that risk? That maybe Glennon’s story and words and God’s truth in those things is a Jar of Clay that contains treasure that could bring someone closer to an awareness of God’s love in their life? I think I am.  Well I already have.

 

 

 

 

Words

 

Sarah Bessey has some good things to say right now
So does Jen Hatmaker, So does Christian subculture’s black sheep, Micah Murray

Oddly, amazing wise things are not pouring forth from me right now.

I suppose that possibly means I’m learning how to finally listen. Really Listen. Listening that lets words
sink in and take root as opposed to just thinking of ways to somehow say what they’ve already said.

I can’t help but still hope one day I’ll have something to say.
That message. That word. That thing that will make all the difference.
The thing that will be so good it could be a book, or a five start blog, or a Facebook post with three thousand likes.
It’s like the famous blogger/writer is the ultimate celebrity of my generation.

Why do I need my words to matter? It it purely that I want attention? That I want the exposure? Am I so in love with approval that I think somehow a large audience would mean that I mattered? I know I matter. I certainly matter to the two creatures upstairs fighting sleep. The ones who pounded down the stairs tonight when I got home acting as though they hadn’t seen me in three years.

Do I think my life experience holds some key of wisdom that’s just going to somehow make a massive difference or resonate with a generation? No two stories are alike, so maybe that means mine still matters even though I could probably name several bloggers/writers who are at least in part  telling a parallel story to mine right now with a much bigger audience, making the points I would make and learning the same lessons I am learning.

Do I want some kind of vindication? Am I secretly writing my blog in hopes people who never liked me or thought much of me the first place will “see” how wrong they were? Somehow I get the impression that if they didn’t like me back then, chances are they won’t like me much now, so why the need to posture and showcase some kind of “look how great i’ve turned out” story. Scary that I still entertain these fantasies. Shows how much I’ve matured over the years and how I clearly have my whole Identity/value thing sorted out.

I’m wondering if I am still in part driven by some need to be seen. A need to be right. A need to have it all figured out. A need to have arrived somewhere.
I’ve not arrived. I am on my way somewhere.  I’m not ready to be exposed or seen. I would love to hide in obscurity. Whatever story others may resonate with is only just beginning.

Wisdom is something I am gleaning from others at the moment, not something I want to be sharing. 

I’ve spent my life running away
Now I have to stay.
There is no where to run
Truly away
I am now rooted in this life
Firmly down
But I’m not safe

This is my bed
I’m dying in it
A little more each day
That I stay
Maybe this death will bring life
Maybe It will be ok
Either way
It feels like I have to stay
Instead of running
Away

 

Still Winter, Need the Sun. Need Him.

Elsa-s-Ice-Palace-disney-frozen-35485968-547-596

It’s still winter. I feel it in my heart, I feel it in my bones. I know I’m meant to be from Wisconsin, but somehow the British winter seems to affect me more than anything I grew up with. I feel frozen on the inside.

I’ve gone through seasons of vigilant exercise each morning, springing out of bed and switching on the DVD player. This has not been one of those seasons. I am pushing it till the last minute, with my only real saviour being the ultimate deadline of the school run.

Every morning, I am struggling to wake up.  I am dreading that moment of coming out from beneath the warmth of my duvet. The day stretches before me and all I feel is a sense of dread. It feels like some sort of exam that I haven’t revised for, and where at the end of it I’ll be graded, and each grade will accumulate over time, resulting in some final verdict over my life.

It’s not the truth of course. I know that in my head. I know these things. That I’m loved, that I’m valued, that my worth is not the sum total of what I’ve managed to “do”, that the Holy Spirit empowers me, and that the Father isn’t just leaning over a cloud marking my report card. I know. But it’s cold.

I think I just very often forget Him.

I forget Jesus.

I forget that when I say His name, over and over again, that it feels a little bit like falling in love.

I forget that He shines like A million Suns ablaze, brightening every day, not because he gives me warm fuzzy feelings, but because he is beautiful.

His light gently nudges me out of hiding. His warmth melts my heart that often freezes over from hurt, disappointment, and offense.

He is, my Lighthouse that leads my racing mind home, to the truth.  He is the beauty, that everything we see on earth only hints to.  He is who He is. He doesn’t need reminding. We do. And he knows this.

So for those of us who need some light to shine into our dark minds, who feel the cold in our icy hearts, and who often can’t manage more than just….saying His name. I’m with you.

Come on my soul…..Awake, Spring is coming.

sun shining

 

The Big Church Day out 2013

I’m avoiding getting into my car. I spilled milk in it last week and it stinks and having been away all weekend, I have not had a chance to scrub it. Today it’s raining, so I’m in the house, doing laundry,and just going over some of the great music I heard, discovered, and soaked in over the weekend at The Big Church Day Out.

The kids were little troopers. There was plenty for them to do, but as well as all of that, we dragged them to all the bands we wanted to see, including an 11:30 PM campfire with the Rend Collective where they both fell fast asleep on the ground in their pj’s and wellies. We all caught the sun, and my face looks like I had a terrible accident with fake tan.

You know that family with two parents, two children, all kitted out in waterproofs? The family who puts sunscreen on in the morning? The family who remembered to bring tissues? The family with the immaculate camping space? That wasn’t us. They were our neighbours. I didn’t even bring a rain jacket. I managed the weekend with no shower and one pair of jeans that sort of got trashed the first day.

Despite having a horrid cold, and a very cold and rainy first day, we all survived the weekend in one piece. What is it about camping? The extreme out of your comfort zone experience combined with experiences you just could not replicate anywhere else? I was so thankful to the random South African guy who helped Jon put the tent up in the pouring rain while the kids and I shivered in the car.

The weekend can be summed up in two things. Me welling up a lot, and my heart resonating.  Musically there were a lot sentimental moments, (I saw Amy Grant all 3 times she was on, and got to sit on the front row in the tea tent for her long acoustic set Saturday evening!!!) many truly worshipful moments, some moments of pure beauty, and just some WOW moments.

I loved that although the weekend was about celebration, family time, relaxation, and just pure fun, all the things you want from a good day out, there was an undercurrent of outworking as well. Christians Against Poverty were the main sponsors of the event, an incredible organization that helps people out of debt. Costa Coffee donated their coffee, (and their branding), for them to sell. Nothing like a proper Hazelnut Americano when you’re camping! Not only did the family get a free hovercraft ride, but we found out about this great organization that delivers medical aid (via hovercraft) to people in Madagascar! I discovered Global Seesaw, who sell gorgeous clothes and various bit and pieces fair trade/anti trafficking etc. Missions was just…like everywhere around the event. From the Tear Fund tea tent to the marketplace where there was one display after another.

The main resonating moment came from The Rend Collective at the campfire. We were about five feet away from them and I could see they were very much a typical group of Irish musicians who loved to rip on each other and banter.  They passionately spoke about how Christianity is not something to be packaged and sold like Starbucks sells coffee. So many people try to “Brand” church, feeling they have to make God appealing, that they have to somehow sell the gospel so people  will be interested. So. not. where. I’m. at. They also talked about being raised in church and youth group and getting to their 20’s and suddenly struggling and realizing it’s not so black and white…and so much of their music is a reflection of them coming out the other side of that…and is very much where I’m at and probably not only why I love their style, but their lyrics so much. A lot of stuff resonated. I also loved hearing from Peter Greig from Prayer 24/7 (another formative influence during my time in the UK).

The event ended with Chai and Hot Chocolate, cuddles on the side of the hill, worshipping with Matt Redman, and concluded with singing 10,000 reasons with nearly that many people!! Later that night, Jon and I sat in our tent, after putting the kids in their sleeping bags, and listened as they drifted off to sleep singing the songs from the weekend.  Despite having a cold, getting sun burnt, wearing dirty yucky clothes, and not sleeping terribly well. (one night I woke up to Iona crying in her sleep, and could not see Judah anywhere…he was UNDER the air mattress…fast asleep!!!! eek!) It was a brilliant weekend, and a blessing as well as a challenge to our family.

iona carasol

 

 

Lilies of the field

Tomorrow we’re heading to the Big Church Day Out. As I feel the wind ripping through my clothing and beating down on my wet hair, I’m wondering why in the world I thought this would be a good idea. However as I sat down to do some work before heading out to buy ice packs (which I cannot imagine needing at this moment in time) and other bits and pieces for the weekend, I clicked on Amy Grant’s new album on Spotify.

Her new single “Don’t try so hard” came on, and I stopped. Tears welled up. Suddenly I was back in my bedroom in Wisconsin at the age of 12 listening to “All I ever have to be” feeling completely free, released, and happy, with such a strong sense of who I was. Fast forward twenty-two  years, and His message through her music is telling me another version of the same thing…because I need that message now more than ever. So yes, I’m going to see her live this weekend. She is a voice from my past….and I feel very drawn to go and see her live, which I’ve never done. Alongside her will be the very present and current inspirations of my favourite worship music. Gungor, Rend Collective, and Matt Redman. Judah keeps running around singing “Set your church on FIRE!! win this nation back” and it’s just too cute, along with Iona’s “oooooooOOOOOOooooo my soul” as she sings along to 10,000 reasons.

This week is possessions week for 7, so yesterday I spent the day sifting through cd’s, books, dvd’s and other bits and pieces. The idea is not to just bung them in a bin bag and charity shop them, but to turn them into something more specific. The reality is, I can’t imagine anyone really wanting or finding any of this stuff useful, so I went on music magpie and zapper and have decided to use the cash towards towards some things I’ve wanted to give to recently. However Jen said…”This isn’t a one hit wonder”. I have yet to do the homework, and much of what she said on the DVD was again, so much more than just about having a clear out and simplifying our lives….much deeper…and as we’re on half term next week that means I have a whole other week to dig deeper on this one.

Monday morning was good. The best lesson many of us learned during clothes week was that no one seemed to notice our amazing ability to just wear seven items of clothing for one week. It was sort of a non issue. I am pretty sure Jon never even noticed me only eating seven foods lets alone only wearing seven clothes. This revelation was particularly liberating to those accustomed to giving much head space and time to what they were going to wear every day.

On a deeper level, one of my friends arrived armed with copies of newspaper clippings about injustices in the garment industry, as well as a compiled list of fair trade clothing and goods retailers. Her response to several people being ill on Monday: “they won’t get away! I will get them next week” Love it!! I can just sit back and enjoy and not feel like “the one” who’s always going on about this stuff.

For me….my lesson from clothes week was simple. It comes from Matthew 6. God used several incidents in the week, particularly at the weekend to confirm to me again, (as he has MANY time before) that he looks after me…so much more than the lilies of the field. He clothes me, feeds me, and provides….not only for me, but for my children. Iona danced on Saturday, dressed in a lily white dress, she joined hands with her classmates as they celebrated the ancient tradition of May Day. My heart was full as I saw her smiling, dancing, and clearly taking pride in what she was doing. When she asked afterwards for a crown of silk flowers and ribbons, it gave me great pleasure to say “YES!!” and it made me even happier when she knew exactly which one she wanted…the gold one with sparkles! The sun didn’t shine, and we were shivering, but we drank tea out of real tea cups, ate cake, and Iona went home happy, having danced and having been and gifted with a crown.

The next day, after proudly wearing her crown to church, and Sunday club, after a play in the park, we were halfway home when we discovered she’d left it behind. In a whirl of frustration we rushed back, had a look for it, and could not find it anywhere. We took her friend home on our way back and I had to console a very very sad little girl. That evening at bedtime, we prayed it would come back to her, and not 20 minutes later, a knock at the door, and her little friend was there with her mother. Her friend had bugged and nagged her mother to take her back to the park so she could look again for Iona’s crown, and they’d eventually found it! I could have adopted that little girl right then and there. I sent her straight up to Iona’s room as I’d just put her to bed. The smile on her face was precious!

More than the pleasure I took out of buying her the crown, (a mere £3), It was even more amazing to see her witness answered prayer. He looks after us Iona….we can trust him.

Iona Maid 2013gold crown iona

 

Back to Eating….now on to Clothing.

So we’re four days into “Clothes Week”. However before I start going on about my 7 items of clothing (not that big of a deal…really) I feel like I need to wrap up food week.

I have this huge fear of being misunderstood, or taken the wrong way, and it spills over onto everything I do. So when leading a study encouraging people to get uncomfortable, and fast,  I worry it’s all going to be taken the wrong way and people are not going to get the heart of of what we’re doing. Because I’m so enthusiastic about it all, I’m afraid I’m going to come across as the person who breezes through this whole thing. I was terrified Monday morning waiting for my friends to arrive. Wondering if I still had any…..however thankfully…it went better than expected! Very happy for everyone and so proud of them all!

With food week, the lessons I learned may have seemed a little obvious at first, but a week after going back to “normal”, and processing things a bit more,  I’m finding this whole seven thing is about more than surviving a week without more choice of food or clothing.

When people ask how I got in during food week, there were the obvious benefits. The realizing the huge difference between our needs and wants, and realizing just how great whole foods can be, and how we really don’t “need” all that other stuff. The realizations that our cravings may be strong, but we are stronger, and they pass as soon as they come most of the time when we ignore them.

But what I really learned? I learned how much I use food as an anaesthetic.I realize how discontented I get with my life, and how I use food to make my day more colourful, to make things seem better than they are. When I took that prop away, when I removed that tool out of my survival kit, I found, that actually, there was more light in my days than I thought there was.

When I hugged my children, I felt the depth of that hug. When I said goodnight, I lingered over their beds, and didn’t rush away, I wanted to be with them. Their little requests and needs didn’t feel as infuriating as they normally did. Their stories, their long winded questions and explanation…somehow, I found joy there, not irritation.

I think food (excess) numbs me to the pains and strains of life…but it also numbs me to some of the real true pleasures…the wild flowers that are there for the picking….

So on to clothing week. I have to be honest and say that I’m really lazy, so wearing seven clothes for seven days almost feels too easy. However, the homework is a different story. Some very tough questions. Not only is the whole knowing where our clothes come from and the haunting question of how little those who’ve made them have been paid and in what circumstances do they work being a huge massive issue,  I’m finding some of the other questions even harder.

Like Jen, I often found myself saying I didn’t care about clothes all that much…didn’t care what all the school mums thought as I slepped up the school path, didn’t care what all those snobby people out in town thought as I rocked up to a meal out in a 3 year old dress, or what the church thought as I lead worship in jeans and a t-shirt. Because there is a huge big part of me that…doesn’t.(or can’t really afford to)  However……flip side. It does not mean that I just sail freely along. Sometimes not caring has it’s downsides. Digging deeper you will still find under my skin a need to be noticed, a need to be admired, and a need to be seen to be….unique…in a “she’s really different but she so pulls it off” way not a “she’s just weird”  way.

Maybe my home schooling spared me from most of the trauma of high school and jr. high where these sorts of insecurities are born and nurtured. I didn’t get off lightly though, I was two years into Bible College when a friend said to me “you’re just so amazing because you wear whatever you want and you don’t care” Really?? Do I? I don’t care? What??? I thought I was just making the most of a strict dress code!? I wasn’t stupid, I knew I wasn’t what you could call trendy, but I didn’t think that I didn’t care, or that it was such a big deal. That compliment, although very well meaning, messed with my head. So my issues with clothes/appearance/image may not be obvious…but they’re there, and they go deep.

Right..I’m off to go eat another piece of cake before I sink any further into this one. This week’s a little depressing.

 

 

Mother Memories….

I close my eyes sometimes and try to remember my earliest memories. It’s like seeing underwater. The first image that comes to mind is the first home I lived in as a baby. I don’t remember much, but if it’s like I can remember the mood that was there. In the memory I can hear my brother Chris, and almost see him, and I can hear my mother, not really her voice, but just, her. I suppose it’s because as a young baby and child, she was often very close to me. It’s a relaxed memory, and very peaceful.

I then have memories of a move to Michigan. I remember the boat across Lake Michigan, the first night in the new house, sleeping on the floor, and settling in. I remember my sibling’s bedrooms in the basement, and much of the detail of that house like the spiral staircase and the round brick fireplace.  I remember sand. Sand on the beach of Marl Lake and my mom’s brown legs. I remember swimming and playing on the beach for what seemed like hours every day of every summer, while my mother read, chatted to friends, and watched us, and often played with us.

One evening after the other kids had gone home, while it was still warm out, and the sun was starting to sink, she taught me how to swim. She held me in the water and spun me around. I think part of my mother came alive when she was in the water.

She home schooled me. I didn’t appreciated it at the time…I mean, I wanted to ride the school bus! She did not send me off to school to enjoy 5-6 hours of freedom, instead she kept me at home. She read to me every morning, she took me to a friend’s house who was also home schooled and she taught me phonics, and never do I remember feeling nervous or intimidated by learning to read. It just happened. (Spelling was a different matter).

Every year there was a birthday party. Friends were always allowed to come and play, and sleepovers were rarely refused. I mainly remember my mom being so laid back during that period of my life.

One of my favourite things to do with her was to visit the health food shop. Adam’s pantry. I was always allowed a “treat” something like a carob peanut butter cup, or fruit juice sweetened gummy bears. she always bought us pitta breads with stripples (soya bacon), lettuce, and tomato. I could always tell ours apart because her pitta was always overflowing with alfalfa sprouts. I complained about having to eat “healthy” and used to love going to friend’s houses to drink Kool-aid and eat Chips a’hoy cookies, but nowadays I’m so thankful for the 100% All natural juice we drank, the fruit juice sweetened animal biscuits, and everything always being whole wheat.

Later on, after we moved to Illinois, and later Wisconsin, I remember it as being a time of continual transition. We were looking for houses, churches, friends, schools. It took us a long time to really settle. When we finally found our house I remember weekends spent raking and burning leaves in the yard, but usually there was pizza and an old movie to look forward to that evening. Thanks to my mother, I know who Judy Garland, Fred Astair, Gene Cary, and Cary Grant are. During that time I struggled to make friends. I was shy, and could be a real homebody preferring to read a book than to go through the ordeal of making new friends. However my mother was always willing to drive me somewhere. When I found a youth group with some nice kids that I got on really well with, my parents thought nothing of driving me to visit the friends (some of them over 45 minutes away). She valued my having good friendships, and to this day, good friendships mean the world to me, and I will go out of my way to nurture them.

My mom always let me loose in the kitchen. I was probably only 10 years old when I was allowed to bake and cook with hardly any supervision. I am so appreciative of that nowadays. It gave me so much confidence.I always remember this whenever I’m tempted to shoo my kids out from under my feet when they want to help me bake.

Then of course there was the time I came home from a youth convention determined to go on a foreign mission trip. It was a desire so strong in me I thought I was going to explode. Instead of ignoring it, downplaying it, or hoping I’d grow out of it. My mother took me seriously. I didn’t have to “prove I was really serious” about it, and pass some sort of test. She spoke to people from our church, got in touch with missionaries we supported, and arranged to send me to Guatemala on my own for three weeks so I could experience missions.

How easy is it to think we have to have it all together before going into the ministry. We scrutinize others, question their motives, wonder if they’re mature enough, have enough experience, have the right attitude etc. Yet just as Jesus called his disciples who certainly didn’t have all their ducks in a row, and walked with them for three years, and set them loose on the world (while they still had issues), my mother was willing to let me go.  Jesus knew that God was bigger than all their imperfections, and he saw the big picture. My mother didn’t have the insight of Jesus to see into my future…but she risked it anyway.

That one trip changed my life’s trajectory. I was a quiet girl who could never imagine living overseas, and after that summer, I knew overseas was exactly where I belonged. Far away from home, far away from any church or youth group I knew, I had my own personal revelation of how big God was and received a vision for my life that influenced every decision I have made since.

Every summer after that my mother supported me financially, emotionally, and spiritually to travel on short term mission trips.  It was not easy for her. Although we travelled in a bubble, surrounded by excellent leaders, we were travelling to dangerous parts of the world, and anything could have happened to us. When I think of some of the crazy busses we rode on, the narrow country roads, out in the middle of nowhere, nearly kidnapped in Africa once but for God’s grace, and roughing it in a remote village in India, (where a close friend nearly lost her foot due to a poisonous scorpion bite),  my mom had the confidence that you usually only find in missionaries themselves who encourage their children to travel. Never once did I feel she was worried about me. She was just excited for me, and of course she prayed!

My mother’s releasing me during my teenage years to do all that was amazing. She was criticized by people, mostly fellow church members who felt it their place to tell her she should be saving for my college education instead of supporting me to travel.  She was questioned as to whether I was learning any real responsibility out on those mission trips like teenagers who spent the summer working proper jobs at fast food restaurants, and Six Flags Great America.  Now that I’m a parent, I know how annoying it can be to have your parenting choices scorned or disapproved of. I can only imagine what some people thought of her home educating me through high school, letting me travel etc.

My mom (and dad) took me to church every Sunday. We moved a few times, and we moved around a few churches, but we always went, and my mom always went out of her way to make sure I was able to be involved in youth groups etc. When I was five, she sent me to the Baptist church’s Awana club where I learned John 3:16, all the books of the Bible, and several other verses that I can recite to this day.  I know there were some who were convinced I was simply the “good Christian girl” because of her influence, and I don’t deny the home schooling, Sunday school going, Christian sub culture experience…however, I can honestly say that from a very young age…my faith was my own.

I don’t know how she did it, but I was somehow given the space to work it out for myself, within the  environment of her influence and the church’s.  I’m so thankful for that. So even in the later years when tensions inevitably rose in the home, (note to parents: just because your teenagers love God and go on mission trips…they’re still humans) I never questioned my faith or rebelled against it in order to have a go at my mother. It just never entered my mind to.

My mom was the one who pointed me in the direction of Central Bible College when I was so lost and confused about what to do after high school. She paid for my tuition so I never had to worry like other students did, neither did I have the weight of debt around me when I graduated. The decision to go there was my own though. When it got tough there, she was the first one to tell me I didn’t have to stay there.

Through tears she let me go. She let me get on a plane every summer from the age of 13-19, and go into the unknown. She left me on the CBC campus in a fully stocked dorm room at the age of 17, eight hours away from home. At 22 I got on a plane, and she had to let me go Ireland, as an adult, most likely suspecting that I would never really come back permanently.

I was still growing up when I was so far away. I still had so many lessons to learn, and was in need of so much grace. It was a tough time, despite being exciting. She always prayed for me, and although she questioned me at times, and most likely worried for me at times, was there when I rang her in the early hours of the morning in tears at the end of my rope. She was always on my side when it really mattered.

Later on, she let me go again…for good. She took me to the Trafford Centre and bought me a gorgeous dress, we had a lovely meal. I never really needed to describe how I wanted the church decorated for my wedding. She just knew, and she did it with so much joy, and it looked amazing. On the evening of my wedding, with hardly a moment for a proper goodbye, I was whisked away in a total blur of Ceilidh dancing, mad Irish people, and a swarm of New Lifers. (ironically, to get on a plane, and go somewhere overseas…Turkey for our honeymoon)

Packages of baby clothes started to arrive. Prenatal vitamins, and red raspberry leaf tea all came through the post. Nursing tops, (one that she had to buy twice because in a blur of sleep deprivation, I’d damaged it while getting it out of the package), and more baby clothes sent with love. There has been a steady stream of packages ever since….things for her little angels…but always something for me…a top, a package of healthy mac and cheese, or something random I’ve asked for.

My mom’s had to let go. A lot. I’ve been the one running off, growing up so fast. Yet, it’s often myself who still does not want to quite let go. “Mom, I need lemon witch hazel” I say over facebook…no hello, no how are you…just this instinct to ask her, just like my kids burst into the room and ask me for a drink. My mother may have allowed me to have experiences that meant I matured beyond my years quite quickly…but I have never grown up too much to stop being her daughter. I’m afraid she’s stuck with me.

Happy Mother’s Day to you mom….It’s hard to write about distinctive memories….when a mother’s presence is like the air….it’s an environment, that permeates everything. It’s so powerful….and amazing.

 

7 Days of 7

I’ve just finished my last official “7” meal. I was so hungry I forgot to photograph it, not that it would have made a very interesting picture.

I’ve enjoyed the simplicity this week of the food choices. I’ve enjoyed the way it’s made me more sensitive to the Spirit, because I have not been “allowed” to quickly reach for the anaesthetic of food to carry me through life’s stressful moments. I’ve experienced huge cravings, but felt the boundaries I set for myself allowed me to be reminded that there is a world of difference between need and want.

I’ve enjoyed SO much hearing from other people in the group. They’ve blessed me and mainly humbled me. Sure I did the dramatic “7” foods, but some of them who have made the slightest adjustments have actually benefited the most…because their hearts have been rendered, and they have approached this whole thing with an open mind and a willing heart.

I woke up this morning to find my lap top had been stolen. Meh :(

I have like this…rebelliousness in me when it comes to personal security. So I’m unforgivably lazy about it. It probably stems from growing up in a home where we never locked our doors, and whenever someone randomly decided to, it was viewed as a massive inconvenience having to wait for them to come unlock the door for us.

So our lax attitude caught up with us and last night some local lads (so the police strongly suspect) came into our house and quickly grabbed my lap top (which I’d only had for 3 weeks) and our camera. Again. All I can say is Meh :(

It’s certainly not the end of the world. But it stinks :( I feel sad, disappointed, and annoyed, and I am not close to “getting over” these feelings any time soon.
However, today was full of a lot of lovely moments, and I’m so glad, there was space….to feel them.

Iona’s reaction to finding out. She smiled, got excited, and set about drawing and cutting out paper magnifying glasses so that she and Judah could look for clues.magnifying glasses

When the forensic officer arrived, Judah and Iona both crouched down and watched her   forensics

Later that afternoon I made everyone a roast dinner, and got so much satisfaction out of seeing them all eating it and enjoying it, especially the vegetables I’d bought yesterday at
the Farmer’s Market.
Veggies

 

This seven stuff is messy. It’s not a lot of neat and tidy lessons we can learn in a week and then move on from. It’s just beginning a process in us, that we will likely wrestle with for the rest of our lives.

Yes, My kids are safe. Thank God. Yes, we have food to eat, and love between us. But I’m still feeling yucky inside because I just REALLY loved having my own laptop. I’m now stealing time on Jon’s desktop while he is momentarily distracted….*sigh*

We’ve got a week to continue meditating on the “food” issue..thanks to Bank Holiday tomorrow. Yay! Then it’s on to Clothing!

 

Saturday Morning’s Mashed up Ramblings on Day 5

Well, we’ve made it to Saturday. I’ve been in touch with several members of the group and everyone’s brain seems to be in a state of learning overload. even those who haven’t even quite begun yet, or have been unable to dip their toes in yet, they have still been thinking about it which is brilliant! Jen Hatmaker included a little “message to leaders” with the teaching DVD’s, and said “It doesn’t matter to me if people are struggling with this or not liking every single thing about it, I’m just excited you’re having the conversation” (the gist of what she said..not exactly) One of them has been sharing in a Facebook group we’re in and I’m going to see if I can copy and paste to here for a guest post! (nice to have a change of voice)

Whenever I’m with people, I find this fasting thing so easy. “How are you finding it?” everyone asks. “Oh not bad really, it’s really kind of fun!!” I say, because in that moment, I’m not feeling it really, because like I said I have NOT been in any way shape or form denying myself food or starving. I’ve not even given up caffeine. However, when I am on my own, oh my goodness, that’s when it gets difficult.

It just so happens this week I’ve been out of the house a lot! I promise it’s total coincidence! Tuesday was my usual date with my friend Beverley. We were at her house this week so the majority of the school day was spent there. Then Wednesday I was out and about doing Doula stuff which is my version of pure fun. Thursday I spent the morning and afternoon with friends, and Friday I spent the morning with two friends who were kind enough to just sit and listen to me ramble about seven, birth hope, doula stuff, and anything else that happened to be rattling around in my mind. I picked up Judah, did the shopping, and came home to a chaotic messy house. I hid behind the computer for a bit (oh media week will be SO HARD) and was just about to start cleaning when another friend came through the front door. Yay! A welcome relief. I did the washing up in front of her (which she’s used to), but then she said “OK, let’s sit down, my feet are killing me”. So then I spent the rest of the afternoon catching up with her.

Jon was out Friday night, so after the kids were down, I just felt tired. Even though I had several things to do, the prospect of another evening without a bit of something foodwise felt tiring, and a little sad. I find myself wanting to go to bed at like 9:00-10:00 (that might actually be a healthy thing to do) however with a night owl husband, this does not work very well.

However that’s all the mechanics of things, which we’re not supposed to be focusing on!! Let me reflect on this last week so far and say that all that time spent with people, has felt so meaningful. Every conversation has been worth it. I feel as though this week has set me free in some areas, and that is exactly what I wanted God to do through it.

I have felt closer to my kids this week, more just…in awe of them, and thankful for them, and more grace for them and these odd tender feelings as opposed to the impatient feelings that usually dominate the more stressful parts of the day. I’ve shouted less in the mornings.  I feel like I’ve softened somehow. Sometimes as parents it becomes so much about us and how we’re doing as  parents, and less about them as little people and how they are getting on and how they feel. So maybe God’s had some space to give me more of His perspective on my children, and on those around me.

Worship has been a big part of this week. I’ve felt more sensitive to the music when it’s been on. I’ve felt it’s impact in the space I’m in. I have felt God putting songs in my head and so encouraged and empowered by the words.

This was the song I had in my head yesterday:

http://youtu.be/WGqyi-WpHU4

.

 

Day 4. A little perspective. Open Hands, Open heart.

Ok, if people did not see this on my facebook page, have a look here.

This week, my “hardships” would be more along the lines of “had to butter warm toast for my three year old this morning”

I really have no clue what hardship is like. I really don’t.

I remembered this song this morning while getting ready, and I thought “yes! this is it! this is how I’m feeling today, and this is what I’m going to remember today anytime I’m starting to feel like this experiment is “hard”. For this week, i’ve let go of my the usual things I grab when I want something to comfort, and instead…opening my hands, opening my heart, and looking forward to what He has for me.

I am certainly missing things….craving like crazy at times, almost feeling panicked, not being able to reach for the comfort of food. But I’m still here! I’ve survived. I’m really no worse for wear. I’m tired (lack of coffee), but I’m in one piece, and like, yeah. I’m really honestly ok. I’m no where near close to suffering, hardship, or pain.

Getting a sense of perspective is useful.

So is hanging out at a lovely friend’s house all morning and then after the school run hanging out at another lovely friend’s house. Yay for community and not doing it alone!

"had to wait till after the school run to have my breakfast because I couldn't get out of my nice comfy bed" #wellandtrulyblessed

“had to wait till after the school run to have my breakfast because I couldn’t get out of my nice comfy bed” #wellandtrulyblessed

 

 

 

 

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