Sunday, 28 June 2015

My last UK sermon

Yesterday should of been filled with deep sadness but instead a small church plant ensured I had a lot of fun. I travelled alone to my final UK preaching appointment.  This was a fitting end to my ministry here. God and I on the road together.  Off I travelled to Watford. 

I must confess to having a lot of fun. We had a great ice breaker. We had a fun sermon and then I closed with the words Jesus thinks you are special and if there was only you on this earth he would come and do it all for you. You are loved and precious. 

I hope I remember that wherever I may go. As a final sermon I am so chuffed that God gave me those closing words. I think that what we say is important. Despite the many challenges I have faced ministering in the UK I would like it know. That God loves each and every one of us. We are special to him. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015


Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. (Hebrews 10:23 NLT)

Here is something that we can struggle with. God can be trusted. We like to do things by our own steam but God can be trusted. If he said it. He will do it. 

There is a difference between inaction and waiting on the Lord. Inaction means doing nothing waiting on the Lord means doing the things you know you should while waiting for clear direction as to where to go next. 

While you are waiting on the Lord, I hope that you do not become inactive. 

Crying a necessary evil

As a woman, crying, I think you have a love hate relationship with at least I do. I have been sent the message either directly or indirectly that crying is bad. Crying is a sign of weakness or manipulation of other people. Crying means you are out of control, immature or just plain manipulative. My relationship with crying has been somewhat strained over my life time. 

Recently however I have begun to accept that crying might not at its core be any of those things. I have learnt that crying is a physical response for an unseen pain be that physical, emotional or psychological or a mysterious other. Having adjusted my mindset I find myself able to cope better with crying. That is until you are faced with it too regularly. 

I recently sat with some friends as we discussed the hormonal torture teen girls can have with excessive crying for apparently no reason. The surge of hormones in their little bodies can mean the simplest action can result in unmerited crying. One of the parents said they could tell I was a mother of boys as I didn't have the whole cuddle for hours while you cry for no reason attitude. They then were shocked to find I grew up in a house filled with women. My mother a single parent raised her three daughters without input from any male influences. The surprise was all over their faces. Then they almost fell over when I said there was very little crying in our home. I remember crying quietly in bathrooms whenever it would hit me but I never cried in front of my mum and certainly didn't spend hours being comforted. They had attributed my lack of crying to living in a male dominated home when that is not a characteristic of men it seems that it is just a characteristic. 

In the UK gender stereotyping is at an all time high if you ask me. Despite all attempts to change it. Pink is for girls blue is for boys. Girls cry and boys don't. This oversimplification of life leads to many problems. Crying being one of them. Is a man less a man if he feels the loss of something and cries. Is a woman less of a woman is she does not have a good cry every now and then for no reason. 

I don't think I am suggesting that everyone should stick to one method but surely crying should not be attributed to gender but should be attributed to whatever circumstances surround the crying. So if your a hormonal teenager then guess what crying, anger, chattering, and many more can be attributed because your body is trying to get the balance of hormones right. If you have suffered great pain then you might just cry and sometimes you might not because your body is overwhelmed to actually do that. But rather than demonising crying as a weak girly thing and thus putting women down how about myself included just confess that crying is a physiological response to an emotional stimulus. 

The Ant

Today my little storm and I had the privilege of seeing strength in action. We stood at the bus stop minny busy watching for a bus. As my little storm was crouching on the ground observing the floor. Suddenly with excitement he asked me to look too. There was an ant carrying a leaf bigger than itself. It was about twice the size of the ant. 

We marvelled as we looked at the ant as to how God had made this funny little creature. A creature so small with so many parts but so strong and powerful. Then when it moves with all the other ants it achieves what seems impossible to us big people. We continue to watch the ant overcome the obstacles of the pavement till it went into a hole we hoped was its home. 

As I looked for the bus my little excited storm said mummy look. He picked up the rest of the leaf the ant was carrying and dropped it in his home. He said mummy I helped the ant. 

I learn many lessons from my little storms bit today was a profound moment for both of us. He might be a child but he can move mountains with hardwork, teamwork and determination. God ha given him a team of family who love him very much and he can move mountains with Gods help. 

I learnt that I maybe one person but with Gods help I can do it. I can carry a heavy load. 

The little ant is a busy hardworker doing all he can to change his life. What can we do with determination, hardwork and a good team? 

40 Day Fast - in the midst of the challenge

Hi today I am in the midst of the fire. You ask me what challenge are you facing? Well I could list all the little things that have bought me to the point of crying in front of someone else or I could say life. Life isn't easy. We can all identify with that. Each one of us can say life isn't easy. I may not know each thing that makes your life challenging but knowing my own challenges I can empathise with you. So today I am in the middle of life's drama. The difficulty is that I want to give up on my fast accept defeat and roll over. 

What should I do when I feel like lying down on the floor an giving up on life?! Make good choices. Do the things I know that make for the best life in the end. Move forward no matter my feelings. This is not easy. Often I find myself sitting alone or in a crowd with tears in my eyes wondering how am I supposed to do another day.  But each day I get up and I breathe through it anyway. 

Today I am choosing to continue my fast.  Not because I feel like it. Not because it's solving any of my problems. Not because I am trying to bribe God into doing what I want. I am choosing to fast because he loved me first. Because he loves me first I will fast to draw closer to him no matter how I feel. 

So I write this with tears in my eyes completely and utterly low and desperate with no way out of my situation. I choose to go beyond that and walk and live and fast. 

40 day fast - gratitude

Every now and then a series of events will leave you speechless in gratitude. That is how I find myself now. We have just celebrated a little ones birthday. This is the first time we have done it at church as the cost is normally prohibitive. But I asked for help. This is not something in me to do most times. But I did and now I am overwhelmed with gratitude. 

Gratitude is an often overlooked state. Most times we teach our children to say thank you and be grateful while all the while displaying some questionable behaviour ourselves. However it's never too late. Instead of being constantly busy preoccupied by life stop and be grateful. 

Friday, 19 June 2015

New Sandals on a Budget

I am off on my holidays this summer (can anyone say grateful for miracles and hardwork of hubby). The thing is I am not good at wearing flip flops. Next issue no funds. So I happened to be browsing online and happened upon the genius idea to revamp a pair of flip flops into a pair of hot shoes! 

Here is my take on it bear in mind flats and I don't mix. The pain is excruciating. 

Take one pair of wedge eternal the toe shoes. 

Add one scarf you don't wear although you love. 

Cut the scarf in half and wrap around the toe of the wedge and the plastic part. 

Instantly new shoes. Guess what they made them instantly more comfortable because of the soft fabric. I cannot take plastic against my feet because it hurts so this was the best discovery ever. 

Thank God for small mercies. I now have a more comfortable pair of shoes to wear while walking around with my two storms in a hot country. Essential for life. 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Lonely and Misunderstood

Do you ever feel like no one understands you? 
Have you ever carefully constructed what you are going to say and then e completely misunderstood? 
Are there moments in your life when there seems to be no one who understands? 
Are you grateful that God understands but really wish there was a physical manifestation so that you wouldn't feel so lonely? 

These are some of the things I have felt from a very young age. I was/am grateful that I have a Heavenly Father as my earthly one abandoned me and my step dad while fantastic did not stay with my mom. So having a Heavenly Father who I could cry to with no fear of judgement or resentment or anger was amazing. Problem was I needed a hug. 

Over the years I was blessed to have beautiful people in my life who I loved and cherished. Unfortunately it didn't last. For reasons I never understood my friends would cut me out. 

Then I got married and had kids and quite frankly life took a turn for the worst. Nothing I did worked no matter how hard I tried it seemed like failure was destined to plague me. 

So I find myself at a turning point. Things are changing. But nothing has changed. In the future there will be great changes to my life but for now i plod on lonely and misunderstood. 

I feel grateful that I have God in my life as no matter how difficult each day is He is there to carry me through. I have learnt so much about being lonely and how to combat it, I feel like I could offer a class. But the thing I have learnt the most? Enjoy the company of God and enjoy your own company. If you do that lonely seems to be a way of the past. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday was a really hard day for me. It felt like the bottom fell out of my world. Like all of a sudden we would not be able to move on with her life. I felt like waving we white flag and admitting defeat. 

I finished my fast in the evening and told God I wouldn't give up but at that moment I couldn't cope. I had something to eat and lay on the sofa for a few hours. I watched a show called Chuck and just allowed the moment to pass without consuming me. 

After a few hours my bones began to other or activity. So I got up and began te process of putting myself in order. It was not fast and I didn't achieve the earth but guess what I did it. The main thing was that I did it. I went to bed that night thinking ok all is not lost get some rest. 

Sometimes life can feel like a process of hanging on for dear life. The one thing my fast has helped me to do is to just allow the lows to pass me by. Let it wash over me and wash away. It's not easy and it's not like it won't be back tomorrow but instead of adding to the misery by beating myself up about it instead I acknowledge and let it pass. 

Each day can feel like lifting a leg I sure where to put it down. But I am learning that in front of me is definitely better than behind me. 

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

40 Day Fast - a little observation

I am managing everyday to fast.  I really thought when I was younger that there would be no way something like this was possible. God is good and he is keeping me. I do find I want to eat better as a result.

My observations are that fasting keeps your mind going back to something. As a parent who stays at home it is very easy for me to lose perspective.  With the fast I at least remember every day that God wants me to be better. Sometimes this can feel difficult but for the most part at least someone is watching over me and keeping me going in the right way.

I really admire all those stay at home mums that study their bible regularly.  I admire those stay at home parents who start businesses, write books,  run successful blogs and do so much more. Next to them most days I feel inadequate.  I can barely cope with staying awake. But the fast has done one thing given me a focal point. It has at least made my mind try to do better than simply stay awake and watch my favourite show.

I am considering making fasting a part of my year. That is massive deal. With all the changes I have gone through and am about to do I am grateful to have the opportunity to fast. It really is moment changing. 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Sabbath Fun - Mini Construction

I am trying to resume my sabbath activities for families. Today I put my patience to the test by trying out mini construction kits with children younger than the stated age. Also I was outnumbered so they had to exercise patience.  

The idea. 
Make something that they can have as a special toy for sabbath. With little ones I have discovered church can be made so much more interesting with the addition of toys they only get to play with once a week. Sometimes if you have enough little things then maybe only once a month. To my little ones it's like Christmas every sabbath. Woo hoo result if you ask me. 

The kit was from the pound store so was reasonable priced if all things failed. My little destructive ones building something would be novel. In addition the kit is made of metal how bad could the breakage be. 

The little mini kits worked well. Lots of conversation. Lots of cooperation. Lots of patience and it's nice project to do as a team.  

For very small children. This is a matching exercise you will actually put it together. 

For medium children it is the ability to follow a sequence of events. Some will be able to do quite complicated parts others will be quite bossy. Enjoy the process. Sit in it you have no where else to be in that moment. 

For preteens and teens. You could pick more complicated pieces or have it as the gifts they make for younger ones there will be more than one parent who would appreciate that gift the next sabbath. 

Whatever you do remember sabbath is rest you have no where to be. Nothing needs to get done. Try and relax that's easier said than done most days of the weeks! So take the time to try something with your children it may seem like hard work but they will have a life time of memories. And maybe just maybe you will bond or find a new interest together. 

Friday, 5 June 2015

40 Day Fast - Peace

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) 

Peace. I crave it more than happiness. I think currently the world overrates happiness. They pursue at all costs. Problem is the cost can be at the expense of peace. 

Peace is that calm in your soul. I love that God gives us peace that passes all understanding. That in the face of all chaos you can breathe and not faint. I have been in my share of crappy situations and I have to say it's peace that has gotten me through not happiness. 

So during this time maybe I will search for peace.  

Going Dutch

I am sitting in a coffee shop. Drinking a very large beverage with a good book The Highway Code for Happiness. It has occurred to me I need to journal my journey. 

It comes as no surprise to you that I am a pastor. It comes as no surprise to you that someone would hire me in such a role.  What might be more surprising is that I am packing up everything and leaving England for Holland to do this role. It is so exciting. But at the same time it's hard work. 

Here I will share my journey to going Dutch. So far I have learnt one thing. If I don't learn the language I am completely an utterly stuffed! 

Language is important! 

So even though the Dutch language is challenging I will do my best to get to grips with it. But before I can even do rhy I have to learn to drive. Write and read a whole load of stuff.  Move house change children schools. And there is a million things inbetween. It's not impossible but the real title of this should be Going Dutch with Nothing. 

I am going Dutch with nothing but willingness to do what God has asked of me.  

I have no finances to make any of this happen. I just have super willingness to move when told to move. It shall be interesting to see how all this pains out. 

God can do anything. So I am going to clean out my ears (in other words heart and brain) and get with his programme. 

I am going Dutch on a budget with a family. Bring it on!

40 Day Fast

I am enjoying the fast. Well kind off. I must confess the downside is feeling inadequate. I don't say that lightly. As a mother of two hugely energetic sensory storms no two days are the same. But now I am fasting and intentionally trying to lift my mind higher I find myself increasingly disappointed at my parenting ability. 

I have always wanted to be loving, kind, relaxed, fun and engaging with my storms. But the truth be told I am worn down or worn out.  I find most of the time I have to tell them off. I long for times when I don't have to tell them off. I long for times when it's not just one everlasting discipline day. It's not easy at the best of times but now I am fasting I feel that sense of inadequacy quite acutely. I look at myself and think shouldn't I be doing better. 

Please do not misunderstand me I have wonderful storms who I love with all my being. These kids though are not easy on me. With everyone else they are the Angels I know them to be. But with me they spend all their energy testing their boundaries and their mummy. This makes for amazing kids but at times it makes for a mummy who spends a lot of time close to tears. They are amazing but also infuriating. I am so incredibly proud of all they have achieved but I wish some of the fun everyone else has would run off on me. 

Today is Friday. We are preparing for sabbath. To be honest that's what we should be doing. What will be doing? Battling over playtime, dinner time, bath time, reading time and most importantly bed time. At this point I will be ready to concede it's sabbath and I should rest! 

I am praying during this fast that this pattern changes. I really want to be more involved with the children positively. I want their experience of parenting to be positive.  I want them not to associate my name with hate which is what they currently say when they say mummy. I want it to be better than it is. I want to look back in years to come and smile at the fun. 

God can do anything and my heart is willing and ready for change.  

Maybe this 40 day fast won't be so bad after all. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

40 day fast - sadness

Today I was prepared for a different kind of day. Yesterday there was physical pain today took me by surprise. So it seems the habit of putting stuff in my mouth is going to be a hard challenge to break but I am willing to give it a try. However today was not all about that. 

I have to say it surprised me that sadness could overtake me today. I don't know why sadness can happen anytime to anyone so why should I be surprised now. But there I was at the end of the day overwhelmed by sadness and sleeping. It can happen to anyone at anytime. It's nothing to be ashamed of. I have accepted that today. 

Today I acknowledge that life has taken its toil on me. I have changed at my core.  It would be nice to one day have my core back. But should it never return I need to find a new resting place at peace with God. Maybe this 40 day fast is just for that. 

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 NLT)

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

40 day fast - pain

This is the second day of my 40 day fast. God has truly blessed me. Today I realised my greatest challenge was not to absent mindedly put food in my mouth. I am being taught to be present for every breath. 

I realise now that too often my mind is on autopilot. Get through the day without really taking in what is happening. I miss so much with the kids when I am like that. I don't celebrate the little things. 

The pain however is real and today I realised that maybe just maybe the reason my mind has wondered is because my body has given up on me. The more in control of my diet and mind I become the more pain I feel in my body. I cannot account for it yet but I am grateful that my pain threshold has been challenged enough for me to bear quite a lot now.  

So day 2 I am smiling through the pain let's see what day three has in store for me. 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Bucket List

I will start this post by telling the truth. I do not have a bucket list. Despite numerous inspirational moments when it has crossed my mind I don't have one. I am not going to do one either. 

So why am I writing the post. I was sitting watching Bones and this particular episode was based on the bucket list. Everyone had a bucket list except the main character. The conclusion of the episode she says she has all she needs so why does she need a bucket list. 

Do I have all I need? Well need yes but my life doesn't look all fancy like hers? No no no. I have a long way to go. But here is the thing if I spend my life chasing a list of things won't I always feel unfulfilled. I have chosen a different route. Acceptance and joy. Joy doesn't require lots of stuff it requires peace and acceptance. Oh and most importantly God! Big smile  

Staring a 40 day fast

I have been thinking about longer fasts for many years. Have I done anything about it? No. I have always been, well, a little scared if I am honest. I love food and the thought that I couldn't cope without it for 40 days was quite overwhelming. But this weekend I made the decision to give it a try. 

Normally you would do this with a prayer partner but at this time in my life I am quite alone. Probably need the fast in that case. You should probably have good reasons for doing a fast and furthermore it helps if you are following a good programme. So here is the thing I have none of those thing.  The only thing I have is a desire to fast, the faith to do it and te hope that it will be a life enhancing experience which I will stick to. 

So what's my plan. Well I am going to fast all day from food. I will have only drinks and at a push fruit but no food hall pass my lips. I have several bible reading plans on the go at the moment so I am going to use those till they run out and then ask God to help me find something appropriate when they run out. As to the prayer partner well since I don't have one I am going to write it all down here as I go along to make sure I am actually doing what I am supposed to. 

I have a prayer request a mile log and hope that I will be at peace throughout the whole journey. Guess what? I am actually relieved to be doing this with you. 

My first challenge today was not to put random food from the kids in my mouth. I avoided all other food but random bits as I was making or sharing or left overs jheeze. How often do I pop something in my mouth. So today I pray for better habits! 

God bless