Shadow Of Victory

Thursday, 31 December 2009

Thursday 31st December F is for Final

F is for Final blog entry of this year and what a year it has been ...I have spent a little time looking back on the blog and re-reading some of it.

Some major highlights and a couple of low valleys but as I have always said right from the beginning...I wanted to be as honest..transparent...and vulnerable as I could as I lived in "The Shadow of Victory ".

I am so grateful for the input from all of you who follow the blog and I have been so privileged to have you also share parts of your own journeys and it has made me realise there is "nothing new under the sun" and many of the struggles I also know something of the same. There is huge security in knowing I am not alone and the journey is all the easier when we travel together.

I am already getting in synch with the new year...the new decade... and have begun to think about some goals..both a couple and as a family...and for the church community I am honoured to be a part of. I read some ones elses blog today and he listed his personal spiritual aims and it really challenged me to do something similar for myself.Perhaps my first blog of the new decade will be exploring where I would like to see myself grow spiritually.

I remember at the beginning of this blog way back in January that I wrote.."writing is my best chance at happiness"...and I am 100% sure that keeping this blog has opened up more chances and opportunities to reach out and touch happiness than if I hadn't started it. Certainly it has given me more opportunities to share time with others who I may not have spent time with before and for that alone I am so very grateful. There is something very special in spending time with people when we can be "real" without fear of embarrassment ..or rejection..or judging...and I believe the blog had facilitated that .I have also been blessed with connecting afresh with "old" friends who have got in touch through the blog and that has also been an incredible joy.

So...F is for Final....but only for this year..I will be back with more F words in 2010...let me leave you with these words from Gods word.

Hebrews Chapter 12 ....Therefor,since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses ,let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles ,and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,the author and perfecter of our faith,who for the joy set before him endured the cross,scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the Father.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Thursday 18th December...F is for Fred..and other Fs

F is for Fred.....but before I go onto this amazing F...let me say a heartfelt thank you to those of you who follow my blog...comment on it..and email me...I have read and re-read all the comments and taken on board all that has been said. It was also very special to actually meet up with several of you who have said that the blog has helped you enormously on your own journeys....and of course sharing a coffee and cake is always a great idea. I am pretty sure I will continue to blog...I still wonder where I would be and how I would be this last year if I had not started this blog.I find it still to be "my best chance of happiness". I am especially grateful for the comments and emails that CJ sends me...he is the one who knows me inside and out and every word I write is shared with him as part of our life together.

So...F is for Fred.I am pretty sure that none of you know Fred...simply because he lives in Chicago.! F is for Fred and his lovely wife Doris were our hosts when we had our trip to Willow Creek conference and we shared a lovely week in their home. If ever you want to know the true meaning of the gift of hospitality then ask me more about our stay. From the moment we arrived to the day we left we felt as if we were VIPs and their care of us was amazing. They cooked delightful meals and offered us their home and prayed for us on a daily basis Their humour was subtle and sometimes downright slapstick. F is for Fred ..still brings a smile to my heart . They are both "retired" inasmuch that they have a small business they run from home...they volunteer in the Hospitality Ministry and host several times a year...In their kitchen / family room they have a centrepiece of small national flags and place a new one for every different nationality they have to visit. F is for Fred serves several days a week in the Seeds Bookshop at Willow and whilst we were there we watched him for a few minutes as he entered into conversation with some delegates and he couldn't do enough to get them what they wanted.

F is for Fred and Doris are who Chris and I want to be like when we grow up..their warmth and humour and love of visitors combined with their genuine interest in us as people ensured that any doubts we had about being strangers disappeared within the first few hours. Even now after a few months back in England F is for Fred still FBs me at times and after my last blog entry he emailed me with some insight. I love the insight given to me from afar with none of the strings sometimes attached from those who we mix with on a day to day basis. I also have learned to respect and listen very closely when the elders amongst us speak into our lives...F is for Fred isn't that much older in years but I seem to think he is decades ahead of us in Godly wisdom.

F is for Fred's email brought some scripture from

Ephesians Ch 6 verses 10-20...well known words about the armour of God

He goes on to share with me some thoughts from a talk at Willow between Bill Hybels and Dr.B (Dr B is Bills mentor)...these two Godly and wise men talk about being transparent within community and how the soldiers referred to in these verses would have had 2 shields...the smaller one would be to deflect fiery arrows and the larger one would be used to link together with the other soldiers to form a rank of solid protection against the enemy. F is for Fred encouraged me also to ...stand firm that there is a time for battle and there is a time to stand firm as referred to in these verses.

So...I am going to "stand my ground"...and ensure I have both my shields in place and keep on blogging .

F is for yet another F fact two F words

Full and Final If you have been following the financial journey of the Mooneys you will know that we have an IVA and for last few weeks we have been praying that God would enable us to offer a Full and Final payment to close it. After lots of negotiations with our IVA case manager we were told we could offer 10,000 and it was pretty certain the remaining creditors would accept this as a Full and Final. We honestly kinda shelved this and half heartedly prayed. Simon Benham our senior pastor encouraged us to "raise the bar" and ask God outright for the amount we needed. Several of our friends agreed that they too would ask God. Well....God answers prayers and we received an offer from a third party (who doesn't want to be named ) and we heard for definite this week that as soon as the monies are transferred then we will receive a completion certificate and be officially debt free. What can we say...words seem so inadequate to express our amazement that the God who created the universe...who gave His precious son Jesus...who can heal the sick and raise the dead has sovereignly intervened in our lives. We stand in awe of His grace..His mercy...His love..His provision ..His promises....perhaps you will stand with us for moment and send a shout of thanks and praise heavenwards.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Tuesday 8th Dec F is for Feelings part two

Still waffling on about F is for Feelings and I find myself wondering a lot about feelings and blogging. I have been blogging since January this year and I guess I have been pretty open and honest about who I am and what I think...feel..and do...It has been a journey of discovery and some of you have shared your own journeys with me and encouraged me to continue.

There was a spate of negative comments/emails that after some deliberation I didn't publish as I came to the conclusion that if I didn't find them helpful then anyone else reading them wouldn't either.It has been a year of so much happening in every area of life and one that has brought some amazing answers to prayer as well as some prayers that are still on our lips.

I chatted with someone at weekend and we talked about how the blog had made it so much easier for friends to keep up to date with the Mooney happenings and for myself it meant I didn't have to be super jolly or wear a mask and it gave me the freedom to be just generally "not fine". is with some trepidation that I write this entry and ask the question...have I been too open?..too honest?..too vulnerable?.... I am asking myself the "have I shot myself in the foot " kinda question?. SB preached a sermon last week and spoke about the series he is planning on for the New Year...I think he is basing it on The Beatitudes and is calling it "Recovery". He made the point that many of us find our lives like a rollercoaster and we can go up and down and he was praying that this series would help us to be on an even keel. I listened to that and didn't think too much about it other than to think..."oh sounds good...look forward to that in new year". Later that day a friend in conversation said to me..."the new sermon series sounds Tailor made for you "....we carried on talking but after a couple of minutes I asked her what she meant .

Her reply really shocked me...she said that reading my blog over last few months had made her realise how "wobbly" my Christian walk was and how much I seemed to need some "propping up ". To be honest I was so hit between the eyes that I couldn't even make any kind of response and she obviously thought that what she said wasn't any big deal and walked off......I have been following Christ and laying my life before Him for nearly 25 years and I am the first to hold my hand up and say ...yep...I have had my struggles BUT I have never for one minute stopped walking...or stopped following...or stopped believing....or stopped hoping...or stopped asking....or stopped persevering....

In the beginning of my Christian I came face to face with some huge issues from my childhood I limped and crawled in the spiritual realm and certainly needed loads of "propping" and could certainly relate to being "wobbly" and I am forever grateful for incredibly supportive friends at that time who prayed and encouraged both Chris and I as we came through some very tough times. My perception of my Christian walk at the moment is that I am aiming to live it with the following scriptures in my head...heart..spirit and soul...

I lift up my eyes to the hills...from where my help comes from...
But my eyes are fixed on you.....
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus ..the author and perfecter of our faith.....
The testing of your faith produces perseverance.....
Let us run the race set before us.....

and many more scriptures that talk about how hard it can be to keep on keeping on.....

This conversation happened not long after another friend had shared with me her feelings and thoughts about something I had said and done that had given her some concern about my attitude and that the way I had reacted to something had surprised her.....and so when two people tell me in two different unconnected ways that they are concerned then I must do what a wise man said to me years ago.....I must search for the "nugget of truth" in what has been said to me.

My conclusions are that.....for this last year in every sphere of my life...I have tried to be honest and when I am not "fine" to say it if asked.....I have worn masks for far too long and have found it liberating to learn to live with who I am and with the people who I call friends I have lived a fairly open book type of life. For me...the "up and down rollercoaster " kind of existence I may have shared about in the blog is different from my faith. No matter what has happened in the emotional realm of my life my spirit has remained unshaken and in fact the honesty with myself and others has also opened up a new depth and dimension to my times with God...

One of my favourite books in The New Testament...
Hebrews Ch.4 verse 13 says this....

Nothing in all creation is hidden in Gods sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

For too long I would try and hide my real feelings from God but using the blog and opening up to others has laid me bare and something supernatural has happened through that even if at times my emotions are rollercoasting down the long straight my faith is rock solid and tangible and my eyes are ever fixed and focus-ed on Him.

I will look forward to SBs series in the new year....not because I think it will have special significance for me...I like to think every sermon series I hear has got some significance for me anyway...but because like everyone I need to be encouraged and given tools with which to deepen my faith and to give me the strength that we all need to keep walking..keep running..keep persevering..keep asking..keep believing....keep praying...keep hoping.....

I am not 100% certain whether I will continue to blog....or whether I may keep it private ...My feelings are such that I know that keeping a journal over the years has been an incredible help to me in dealing with "stuff" but whether I continue to go public is a question I will be praying about in these last few weeks of 2009. This has been one of the toughest years I have had for some time and I have no real assurance that 2010 will be any better.....but I know this blog has been a huge part of surviving it with my faith intact and my relationships deeper than ever before so I can see the huge benefits blogging has.....and a small part of me hopes that perhaps I have been of some help to others in helping them to identify wth some of my wafflings....

To finish this emotions are fairly fragile at present and I am finding that tears are never far from spilling over and I am working hard at maintaining my make up.!!....but please know that " I know that my Redeemer lives " and I have assurance that "He will never leave me nor forsake me "

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Thursday 3rd Dec F is for Feelings

The F word has so many different forms and I have played a lot in my mind of different variations...but this blog entry will initially start with F for Feelings but who knows as I waffle on it may end up completely different.Years ago Chris and I went on a Marriage Encounter weekend and I think the first session was all about feelings...the main point was that

"All Feelings are Valid and Valuable" is what we do with them and how we allow them to affect us !!

eg...its not wrong or bad to be angry...but if we allow it to take over our life and how we deal with things on an ongoing basis then we need to look at how we can deal with it.

I learned a lot over that weekend ....much of which has come back to me over this last year.As a Christian I have laboured far too long under the false assumption that life should be "fine" and " dandy" and if I am having a tough time then I need to "get sorted" pray...ask God to change me...bless me....or whatever. This can then lead to condemnation as it becomes apparent that even after much prayer...much repentance....much bible study etc...that there are times when I just cant seem to "feel" better about life. For way too long this has also led me to believe that F is for Failure I cant even begin to tell you the hours and days I have spent with this times I thought it was my middle name!! and even the odd times when I thought it was my first name too!!I can remember one instance at a Stoneleigh bible week when one of my kids was in trouble and the leaders involved came to talk to us ...I look back on that time as one of the toughest we had ever to deal with and being in the middle of the bible week seemed to make it worse...I felt as if the entire campsite all knew what was going on ( of course that wasn't true)...anyway....I began to cry and took everything that was said as personal confirmation that I had failed big time as a mother....these feelings completely overwhelmed me to the point where I didn't leave my tent for 3 days...( except to go to the loo.!)On one of my quick walks to the loo Ben D caught me ( drat) and he said something which has stuck with me for was a phrase that one of the speakers had used ..Ken Gott from Sunderland...the phrase is


and Ben was basically saying to me that matter what had happened with the kid..or whose responsibility it was ..or how I actually felt about it....God had a call on my life. I was so grateful ..not just for his words...but also that people had left me to can be too easy to just brush things aside and move on with life....but I needed to work things through and come out the other end and then when the time was right God placed Ben in my path outside the loo..!!Ben didn't offer me tissues or try to "make it better"...he just said what he needed to say and left it with me ....and many times in different scenarios that phrase has resonated with matter how much a I mess up...or how much I get over emotional..or how many hours I waste being in an emotional muddle...the call of God on my life is GREATER than my fall

And another F....F is for Fixer in today's culture we are sometimes guilty of being "fixers"....if someone shares about how their life is tough or about how they are feeling about something..we seem to leap into action and try and fix things....have you ever sat with someone and just openly talked about how you are feeling about a certain aspect of your life and before the first tear has dripped off the end of your nose they have handed you a tissue ...hugged you....offered to pray....and thrust a hot cup of tea into your hands. At times I have also been on the receiving end of the "pep talk " you know ..the one that tells you to buck up and be a rabbit or whatever the English version of this is!! And of course there are the occasions when you get told just how much you have to be thankful for....Nothing wrong with any of these Fixes at all but sometimes we just need to get the feelings out into the open before we are "fixed " up.

Okay...I may have exaggerated a little...but you get the gist of what I am saying. Its almost as if feeling sad...or anxious..or overwhelmed...or ...whatever is somehow a "must fix now" event. I recognise that if the feelings go on and on and on and begin to overpower then ..yes ..we do need to step in and offer some help ..but there are times when a good cry...a good moan..a good old "get it all off your chest" tirade is actually a good idea. You can pretty much guarantee that hugging someone or handing them a tissue etc will stop the tears pretty quickly and from my own experience if you damn them up they only come back with even greater force at another time.

God gave us our emotions for a purpose....I am totally convinced that every aspect of our emotions...from fear through to joy...covering a multitude and range are all God given and if allowed to be used in the right way can and will serve the right purpose. We see from scripture that Jesus expressed his emotions...he wept...he showed anger...he was overwhelmed at times....he withdrew into solitude (maybe he just needed to get away to deal with his emotions too) and if we are made in Gods image then I guess it is okay for us to express our feelings .

Part of my journey this last year ..through this blog..... has been an emotional one exploring my feelings and writing them down has been such a huge help as I have processed all that has been happening in my life proving again and again that...."writing is my best chance of happiness " and I am grateful to have had a place to just be " me " without fear of rejection or judgement...altho rest assured I have still wrestled with those two.!! I am ever aware that feelings are a tool that if used wisely we can use for our advantage and for our healing and our emotional maturing and also for our character development and for those of us who are Christians they can also change us "from one degree of glory to another " The reverse is also true in that the enemy who is "prowling like a lion seeking to devour us " we at times need to be asking God to help us to bring them under HIS control.

F is also for Finally and if you have been following all the ups and downs and twists and turns of the Mooney money saga then you will know that the dreaded word "redundancy" has reared its ugly head again.This time it isnt only just a rumour ....Chris has now recieved offical notification that "consultations " will be taking place the week beginning 14th December and rather than make this blog a long and boring explanation of what my feelings are ( which I will blog about another time )...I will close this now with a plea...please pray for us . Thank you .