Shadow Of Victory

Monday, 27 April 2009

April 27th Immeasurably More

Ephesians ch 3 verses 20 and 21 says this,

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work in us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever Amen

Final update on our Willow Creek Adventure....we have been totally overwhelmed with the love and support..prayers...encouragement and gifts that we have received from you all. We now have not just enough but more than enough...Funds came from the most unexpected places and people which has shown us once again that God is a good and faithful God.

As we have been unable to tithe for some time with our debt situation we have always "given" as best as we are able and we decided at the beginning of this walk in faith we would be open hearted and its been fun giving some Starbucks coffee gift cards to well as a gift to help someone on their own financial faith journey to Serenje.

We are so grateful to the couple who initiated this trip by offering their air miles to us and altho the airport taxes/fuel charges were a bit of a shocker..this amazing couple decided last week that they would pay for half of that much of a blessing is that for us....and how about this for a God who controls the windows of heaven....I received a tax rebate.!!! I always try and do my self assessment as soon as possible in April..but never ever have I overpaid my tax but God is much bigger than Her Majesty's Inland Revenue .

We send our thanks to you all for praying and encouraging and giving and be assured that I will blog big time about Willow when it comes to end of August.I promise to resume normal service in this blog in next entry but wanted to make sure that praise thanks and honour go to our God to ensure the phrase from above verses "to him be glory in the church."is lived out amongst Gods people

Friday, 24 April 2009

April 24th Strength Finders

I had planned to begin to write about my brothers but its been a tough few days with all that is happening in seemingly every area of my life...Chris is away a lot with new work situation and even when home he is stressed and pre-occupied and its oh so weird having him upstairs working in our study....and the situation with Cat and Nick is taking some major emotional adjustment..and all around that is the ordinary everyday living to be going on with.

One of my boundaries that I put into place in January was to limit my reading of fiction and this has been major source of strength for me as I have delved into the "word" and several other books have been of interest. One such book is by Marcus Buckingham...Strength be recommended....and I am extremely interested to discover my 5 main of which is COMMUNICATION...let me share with you some of the descriptions of this and let me know if you think it is true of me.!!!

"you like to speak in public...and to write.!!...and so you turn events into stories and practice telling want your information to ..survive want to divert peoples attention to you and then capture it and lock it in. are driven to find the perfect phrase....and are drawn towards dramatic words and powerful word combinations....this is why people like to listen to you....your word pictures pique their interest ...sharpen their world and inspire them to act.."

With sharing this blog and also being a part of the Unique Ministry's ...Exposition group...I seem to be living out this "strength" and altho I risk repeating myself."writing is my best chance at happiness" and so I will continue to write.

I did for a couple of days wonder if I could rise above the heart ache and continue to share my life here...but I still feel that God wants me to do this and so I will carry on..please hang around and keep me company...the adventure is all the better for living it out with friends.

I have also pretty much decided not to go into detail re Cat and Nick....they have their own journey to walk...their own story to tell and altho I will be with them every step of the way it would be wrong of me to uncover them too much in this blog. Maybe one day they will share their own story in a similar way ....all I may at times ask is for you to love them and encourage and support them in as best a way as you can and continue to believe and ask for a miracle.

Our Willow creek adventure continues...we are still believing God to provide all the finances and are amazed at the generosity shown to us as gifts have been given. We are so grateful for a community that shows love in a very practical way.

Let me leave you with this from 2 Thessalonians ch 2
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope...encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good word and deed."

Friday, 17 April 2009

April 17th Isaiah 54

A lovely friend sent me some verses to look at from Isaiah 54..this has long been one of my favourite passages of scripture and I always find something in there to restore..encourage and bless me and today has been no different. The word of the Lord is living and active.....and I am so grateful for this amazing truth.

Verse 13 says in the latter part..."GREAT WILL BE YOUR CHILDRENS PEACE"....and so today I will begin to reclaim this for my daughter....that peace will reign in her body ..mind ...soul..spirit....

I have also been meditating on verse 10..."though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed...yet my unfailing love for you will NEVER be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed " whilst I feel shaken deep in my heart and soul I know that Gods love for us all will never be shaken....nor will He remove His covenant of peace.One of the dictionary definitions of peace is..."freedom from or cessation of war" and I like this is fairly descriptive of what I have felt in my inner being for some time...with all that has been happening in every area of our has felt at times like a war zone....but as friends have prayed for us we have felt Gods presence and I am sensing that I am entering into His peace in a much more active sense...

There are some incredible verses contained in this chapter that deserve some time to let the truth seep into every part of my mind. The one drawback in doing the "through the bible in a year " has been that I havent been reading much else apart from the daily readings....and in last two weeks I have realised that I have needed more than the day to day stuff...I found some gems in Galations and Ephesians recently that have kept me strong....

It is weird with Chris working from home...especially as I also work from home...he is upstairs and I am downstairs...he came down to kitchen to "meet me for lunch" how bizarre is that...and later we are going to Maidenhead ..he needs to go the office and I will tag along and do some this is Gods way of blessing us with some time together amidst the busyness of life.

I will be moving on with my blog in next few entries as I am eager to continue to look at the continuing thorns in my life....I still fully believe that "writing is my best chance of happiness" and I know that writing this blog over last few months has brought a new dimension into my life.....

Thank you again for comments and loving encouragements.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

April 15th Downtime

I am going to be taking some "downtime" in this blog entry.I said at the beginning I would make every effort to be honest...vulnerable and authentic in my entries and I am aiming to continue to do this.

It is interesting that I have just this morning "blogged" on another forum...(this is a private "debt" forum and I have blogged there for a very long time) is a national forum and is read mostly by non church/Christians...and it is also anonymous ..altho I have met quite a few at our regular meetings ...the interesting thing is ...its so much easier for me to be honest in that blog rather than here....hhmmmnnnnnn.

Is it because it is anonymous?? I am ...I have been keeping this blog for 3 months....have been aiming for all my "boundaries"...have been meeting with my mentor regularly.....reading Gods word...serving and attending church and I feel....

Trying to find a word to describe how I feel....Tired is too weak a word....Stressed is too strong a word....hhmmmnnnnn....may be trying to fit it into one word is too difficult..

I feel....unhinged....a little lost...vague.....sleepy.....weepy.....worn out....unsettled ....(sounds like the seven dwarfs).I think so much is happening big thing after another that I cant seem to keep my feet...I seem to be walking the wrong way on an escalator and trying to ensure everyone gets on and keeps moving...I feel afraid that I will let go of someones hand and they will fall....I feel I really want to sit down on the steps and punch the emergency stop button so I can have a little DOWNTIME

Chris work situation looks like it has finally resolved itself altho we have some HR issues to sort out...if he ever finds out who or where his HR person is....He has been very weepy this last few weeks and now he is travelling a lot it is hard to keep close to him...we did have a wonderful family Sunday where we were completely over the top with silly string and party poppers as we honoured him for all he had done for us in last 31 years of providing for us all....he is a good man.

Cat and Nick had some horrendous news re their quest for a baby which has truly shocked us all and has driven us to large boxes of tissues....numerous glasses of alcohol....huge chunks of chocolate ....and to our knees at the foot of the cross...not necessarily in that order.!!

Our Willow Creek adventure took a serious twist last week when we discovered that on top of the 700.00 we were asking God to provide there was a further 500.00 in hidden taxes etc that we hadn't known about so the 700.00 has now become 1200.00...praise God and thanks that 420.00 has been gifted to us...thank you...thank you...thank you...

Ministry wise...Life group...Church ...I have been struggling with all of these....not in a "give it all up" way...nothing like that but just wanting to stay at home...and preferably sleep.....I haven't given in to this as I 100% know this is a tactic of the enemy to isolate me...I have been there..done that and got the tee shirt many times in the past and have no intentions of going there again.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog...pray for us...send me comments and emails....all serve to show me that God is building a community here in Kerith Community Church were we can be authentic.....despite all I have shared I am strangely "at peace".
I know My Redeemer Lives
I know He can move mountains
I know He can be found in the desert place
I know His plans are to prosper and not to harm
I know He will never leave nor forsake me

Deep in my spirit I know all these truths and more....yet...I still want to punch the emergency stop button....but that's not a bad thing...its being authentic...its being honest with myself and with friends...

Stay with me....please

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

April 7th Moving on

I am going to move on a bit to the other significant events under this first "thorn".....namely the suicides of my two brothers and the abandonment by my mum when I was 12 years old. I have never really spoken about these events in great detail to or friends and I am trusting God that "writing will be my best chance of happiness" and as I write I will be open to Gods Spirit bringing fresh revelation to me.

I will begin in the summer of my 12th year....I was living with my mum and sister and brother....unknown to me both my sister and brother had applied to emigrate and the time had come for my sister to actually go....I waved goodbye to her at the docks in Glasgow never really understanding that she was gone and gone for good. There then followed a very painful time in my childhood and even as I begin to type these words I can feel the tears beginning.....but I can do don't hand me a "virtual " tissue....I so much believe that God values tears when shed in this healing context.

My sister was the apple of my mums eye...and as she sailed off to mum disappeared into her own grief that had no room for me. She had always had a problem with alcohol and this was her escape route....she lived in the local pub and her life fell apart. My older brother kept his head down and got on with his life and kept going with his arrangement to emigrate too. I kinda fell by the myself up for school...made myself some food.....went to launderette...visited my dad and other 2 brothers once a week to collect the money that he paid to mum for my "keep" .....all stuff that an 12 year old should never have to deal with.The most painful memory (amongst many painful ones ) I have from this time was re a popular song from that era...the words go.."There goes my only possession ..there goes my everything." and my mum would return from the pub...and put this record on and let it play on repeat....I would lay awake in my bed realising that my mum was basically saying that when my sister left she had lost EVERYTHING....and I was nothing.....I would listen to mums drunken serenades and at times she would come into the room where I would pretend to be sleeping and she would sing this chorus over me....these words found their way into my spirit and formed a deep lie that it has taken me decades to replace with the truth.

Inevitably we fell behind with our rent and had to move house a smaller place...but as my brother was due to get on his boat and go to Canada it was decided this would be okay. One Saturday morning I woke up and there was a note on the table....from my mum..."I have gone to back soon" and a five pound note beside it for food.

My brother went berserk....not at the fact that mum had gone but that it was only 5 days till he was due to go and there he was ...left with me.!!!..I remained quite cheerful and can remember going to the supermarket and buying cold ham and potatoes and cooking my brother his tea...feeling quite grown up...I was now 12 years old and could look after myself ..thank you very much. Miss Independence began a whole new chapter then....The day before he was due to leave he walked me round to my dads and as I sat in the living room watching telly...I could hear them in the bedroom talking.....words floated out...."she cant stay here" "no room".."where is the woman and is she coming home" and as they talked I slipped out of the flat and went back home.

I determined there and then that I would look after myself...I didn't need anyone....I could survive anything and....anyway...the note said "be back soon" I would wait here until she did come back...soon... These were the days before folk had telephones ( and I am referring to landlines..not mobiles.)and there was no way we could even try and track her down...but I told my brother to...go...get on your boat...its fine...I will be okay....she will be back...soon. He left as planned and I stayed as planned..... and "soon " never happened.

So here I am ...12 years old and alone.....Days turned into a week and then two and I got myself up and went to school...washed my knickers in the sink and ate beans on toast...(still love beans on toast to this day )...Apart from my dad and brothers no one at school or friends knew I was alone. A letter arrived about 17 days after ...and it was a one page...."sorry...not coming a good job and please go to your dads and stay there.."...I didn't go to school that day....I went back to bed and slept and dreamt of dying...My thoughts were.....if I could sleep long enough I wouldn't wake up and that was so much more preferable to this bloody awful life. I was alone.I was nothing. I was unwanted. I was damaged goods anyway. I was so awful that once my sister and brother left that my mum couldn't possibly look after me.!

Hey...from this vantage point looking back I can rationalise EVERYTHING....I can EXCUSE and UNDERSTAND it all...but at that point in time I had nothing ...absolutely nothing to ground my wild emotions on and so they ran riot filling my childish mind and spirit with crap and lies. The damage that had already been inflicted on me through abuse was now compounded by being left alone...I called this "thorn" abandonment " and I wondered if that was too emotive a word....But I looked it up in the dictionary and it says...."give up completely...forsake...give up to anothers control or mercy ...." and I think this sums up what I was experiencing. These are all words I would have to grapple with when I became a Christian....God promises "He would never leave me nor forsake me...He would have mercy on me according to His unfailing love " yet all my experiences were the opposite of these promises.....

I will stop here as this entry is proving to be quite long...much longer than I thought ....As I wrote earlier I began to feel quite an upsurge of emotions but on reflecting on this I know they aren't now tears of pain.....more just a sluicing around of some wee gritty bits that had been stuck in the wound and now are rinsed out and once more soothed by Gods precious the analogy.!!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

April 3rd Revelation

Today I had a know those precious moments when you can almost "see" God in your mind....almost "hear " his voice speaking to your spirit. I wish I could say I have these moments daily but sadly was the day for a blessing .

I was walking the dog...watching the wee boy I care for running all over the place chasing both the dog and his football and the sun was shining and I was thanking God for moments like these when "all is well" no matter what is going on around me I just knew deep peace and happiness.

I began to reflect on "authentic lives" and "being vulnerable" ...and I was thinking of the entry in yesterdays blog where I said that "usually I would run for cover" when things all around me are painful and confusing....why I sometimes feel that I seem to be continually "moaning" and that maybe I should shut up as folk will be getting fed up with me....I actually said that to Caroline..."maybe I should just pretend it is all okay "

As my thoughts followed this thread I had my "Revelation"...God opened a curtain into my spirit and gave me a fresh insight to my character formation...From a very young age I learned that if I complained about anything I would either be punished ...ignored...or laughed at....If I expressed hurt or pain I would be given a sweetie and sent out to play.....I was never allowed to be unhappy because I was "trained " to be a people pleaser for fear I would be left behind. Somewhere lost in the murkiness of my childhoods nomadic existence a terrible fear of being lost and forgotten had gained a foothold and for most of my adult life I have felt guilty when expressing distress....there really weren't many moments when I felt a hug or a kind word or anyone telling me it was okay to cry.

This may well be obvious to many people ...but to me it was one of those thunderbolt I have written this blog some of you have left me comments and sent me emails and they have been life affirming and slowly but surely your loving encouragement and acceptance of my "moanings" have somehow or other permeated into my spirit and affirmed in me that I am not being ignored or forgotten and I wont be left behind or be lost and most precious of all..I don't need to feel any guilt over expressing my feelings...To know you will still be my matter what a very precious truth that today has brought a deeper level of strength to me.

I feel well and truly blessed....even though I am in the "wake of that ship" for a few moments I am "being still and knowing God."

April 2nd...Waving not Drowning

I am on a small detour again...this last few weeks has been a wild water ride rather than a rollercoaster.!! The situation with Chris work is like a bad movie script or an episode from a soap opera......we feel as if we are being buffeted from all directions on a daily basis.I had a picture yesterday when IJ and BJ came round to give us hugs and pray for us..."it is of Chris and I having been thrown overboard from a ship...we have our life jackets on and we know 100% we wont drown...BUT...the wake of the ship is throwing us all over the place....." so if you see us....we are definitely WAVING NOT DROWNING....and if you think of us ..please pray that a lifeboat comes along soon and takes us to solid ground...!!!

In between all that we had to re-think a decision we had made about our trip to Willow Creek for the Leadership Conference...because of financial reasons we had decided that ONLY Chris would go.....and altho I was disappointed we felt at peace.....then along comes Simon...who said he REALLY wanted us BOTH to be there as it would be a life changing time for us...He challenged us to pray and believe that God would provide the finances for us to go.....He encouraged us to share with friends and ask for their prayer and support .....He mentioned the "pride " word and said we needed to drop our pride and ask....

Those of you who know our financial situation will also know we find it hard to keep on sharing and keep on being vulnerable and I guess pride is an issue....but God is still working on our characters and we are truly grateful for friends who do love and support and encourage us....despite all our flaws.

Simon has taken a lead in church in being "authentic" and living lives together and being open and vulnerable with each other so we can be a community that will let people"come as they are".....and I know that at times it is a struggle to keep on being authentic.

For me...I am incredibly thankful for friends who surround us .I know for sure that given my natural inclination I would have run for cover months ago if it werent for your love and acceptance and the growing knowledge that you actually do love and care for me..

Its strange that writing this blog has been such a vital part of this journey...I think I said at the start that "writing is my best chance of happiness" and whilst I have been bobbing up and down in the water I still have known peace and happiness.I have had Caroline H as my mentor and I cant begin to explain how that is keeping me afloat....I have had friends and LGroup praying for me and know that both Chris and I would surely have drowned if not for all the help and support that has been shown to us.

We are still in the water..the work situation is not yet resolved but we are "waving" the trip to Willow Creek is a definite but not yet fully financed...but we are "waving"...anyone got a spare lifeboat..??