Shadow Of Victory

Sunday, 30 September 2012


This blog post is slightly off centre of Granny's Gap year but still highly relevant. I am just home from the evening meeting at church and my mind is just buzzing with the words..."Inspiring a Generation "

Yvonne Scott our Children's Pastor has kinda nicked the phrase from the Olympics and we are using it at Team time and reminding ourselves that what we do on Sundays mornings with the Inspiring Generations for Christ .

This morning at both the 9am and the 11am meeting after the fun of gunging a leader and games playing we moved into the teaching time and the leader suggested the children pray and ask God to speak to bless forgive them....Altho at both meetings the children responded in a very positive way it was at the 11am meeting  I saw and experienced something I had never seen before .!!

The Leader asked the children to lay down on the floor and close their eyes and "talk " to ask for the Holy Spirit to come to them and bless them ....I sat at the back of the hall and watched as a hush fell....I guess there was probably around 60 children and the floor was covered ...I couldn't see an inch of space and you could have heard a pin drop....The Leader prayed....and within about 2 mins I could sense God was moving....I began to weep....It felt as if a Holy Presence had flowed in and was hovering over the children and I was being included....I just sat there and watched the children.

Some of these children come from broken-ness...some from painful lives...some maybe bullied...some just needing a touch of Gods love....Many come from happy families yet they too were reaching out to and experiencing a Holy Moment.....I truly felt that as a church we ARE Inspiring a Generation for Christ.

Then this evening....I was dog tired....I slept for 2 hours after I got home at 1pm...I was wiped out...then we had our grandson and his parents over and our son ...( missed you Limara ) for fabby Sunday Roast at 6pm  but I really wanted to get to church as I knew we had a visiting speaker and it was Baptisms... So off I went...arriving late but just in time to join in a new song which just lifted me back into Gods presence.

We baptised 6..(or was it 7) young teenagers who all shared their stories of how God had called them into a relationship with Him through Jesus....I knew then that our church were Inspiring this Generation too.!!

Finally....I was reminded on the way home that our youth Pastor...Liam...spoke weeks ago about being a church where the old...the middle aged...the youth and the kids would all love and care for each other in every way we could ...He prayed that there would be NO Generation Gap....and we would Inspire all ages...

Today....I believe I lived it ...breathed it...experienced it...and for me I was truly Inspired for Christ in a new and precious way.

Saturday, 29 September 2012


I can hardly believe it is now a month since I started The Academy ...and its been a month of ups and downs...highs and lows ..but also of great fun...huge challenges and I seem to have completely lost sight of my "comfort zone"...

Physically... its been unbelievably cracked ribs and bruised lung tissue has meant I have been struggling to move and drive and that had a knock on effect with my work life and meant I couldn't have the childminded boy....and Chris had to step in to help as much as possible with Elisha. It also was a weird two weeks as the dosage of Tramadol was wrong and I had several episodes of almost fainting and weird dreams and night terrors....not to be fearful.

Financially ....because I wasn't able to care for the childminded child I lost a months earnings and sadly the mummy decided also to terminate my contract. I was in two minds about this...Ofsted have steadily increased the paperwork to the stage where childminders were being buried in totally jobsworth record -keeping and also because the mummy was looking to increase my days and I knew I couldn't commit to more than I was already doing. It also raised the question that she hadn't given me a months notice as per contract and NCMA have all sorts of advice etc re this kind of legality....personally I wasn't really interested in what the legal situation ...after praying and talking to others I knew that God was saying to "do what was right" If this meant I lost some money then that was okay...the "right" thing was to keep in good relationship with the mummy and to finish well. Over a couple of emails both the mummy and I agreed on a mutual severance and we have both been able to leave the door open for future times and maybe the child coming for visit to say hello again to Eli and Matt both of whom he has a good relationship with. I was able to say to the mummy that caring for her son for 18 months was such a blessing and may God bless them in their future.

Comfort Zone is disappearing fast...Mixing with a gang of young folk...Ha...its been a riot....yes I feel like the mummy of the group...(that's my has said this )...yes I watch them doing some very weird and silly just need to check out their FBook vids and pics...but they bring a smile to my heart and a lift to my spirit....I just have to look at Dan B...and Ben W and get a huggle of RV....or watch Siim and Marlen have a wee cuddle when they think no-one is looking...or watch the way the girls look out for each other if the tears start to drip.....and loads more....

Comfort Zone...has also been moved..I now am the proud and slightly smug owner of a Galaxy S2...and I can do some pretty fab stuff on it....don't get too excited...I am way behind most of you..but being able to take a photo and post it via email or onto Fbook is such a thrill....I have a Bible Gateway App..but no idea how to use it as yet...I am taking baby steps...don't rush me...but I have to tell you ..

I am so proud of myself..!!

Finally.....I get to hang out with Yvonne Scott the Childrens Pastor...I have never really wanted to be involved with childrens work at church...I always have the thought that I work with children and young adults all week so Sundays I wouldnt get involved BUT I am amazed at how much I am seeing God do in our 5-11s age group...Yvonne and the team are STARS.....and I just know this year that Yvonne will challenge me in so many different ways.

And Finally ...Finally....The teaching we are privileged to get on Academy days is outstanding...truly outstanding...from speakers who have decades of knowledge right through to young men and women who are young enough to be my children but their experiences and gifting shine through....

Thursday, 20 September 2012

GRANNY'S GAP YEAR (3) it is ..coming to the end of my 3rd week in Academy....I am just amazed !!..I never knew it would be like this....I guess a lot of people have a fixed idea of what any new thing may be like...BUT.....this is like nothing I have experienced before. I truly believe it is because I have stepped out of my "comfort zone".

For many years.....I have allowed my lack of self confidence and my hearing loss to keep me inside a fairly well controlled environment....I have worked from home for decades...with babies...young children and adults with disability and for me it is an easy role to have...

1) I am in my own home
2) I choose who I care for and what I do with them
3) Often the need to "listen" isn't always needed and my hearing loss isn't noticed
4) I have huge confidence in my many years of experience...often in areas that others would be I can tube feed...babies and young children..I can deal with Epilepsy and do CPR....I can use BSL or Makaton if needed....I can provide personal care for adults without any problems and of course I can feed babies and change poo bums with one hand behind my back.
5) I have almost total control over almost every aspect of my day to day life.
6)If I don't want to do something...or learn a new skill then I don't have to...I can choose NOT to learn or try or attempt ....

This is my Comfort Zone...

For decades I have lived within this zone and in all honesty I have pretty much created it to suit me family and my church life. In the last 2 years I have sensed that time is passing....This may well have been because I have went to several funerals of people of similar age and for one reason or another have died suddenly or after an illness....Add to that the birth of my Grandson Elisha and I am so aware that life is moving much faster in my 50s than it ever did in my 30s.

The Comfort Zone was beginning to be more of a restriction than a freedom to me....I cant explain it too well but my friends would have heard me say the phrase "same old ..same old "..which really just sums up that I have been doing the same thing for such a long time and it was no longer comfortable... just SAME !!

I knew just applying for The Academy was the first moving out of my comfort zone. In the last three weeks ..let me list some of the areas and steps that have taken me way out of my zone. You may think..what is she on about...that some of the list may sound "simples"as the Meerkat says...but I am not  the it will never be "simples"

1) Being part of a fairly large group of people who don't know me...don't know who I am or where I come from..or any of my background...
2) Being part of a group who don't know about my hearing loss..or that I rely on lip reading a lot of the time
3) Being part of a group ..6 of whom are from other countries and cultures....bringing the added stress of my hearing tuning into their accents and reading the lips of other language speakers is extremely difficult.
4) Being part of a group of people who are decades younger than me....average age I guess would be 19 or 20??
5)Being part of a group who are technologically way beyond my ability...watching all of them on their Ipads and Iphones and Smart phones...and even using words like USB and Wi-Fi...send waves of anxiety through me and in my comfort zone I don't have to worry about such things....I resisted using my ancient
(but beloved )NOKIA to text until maybe 2 years ago.
6)Having to engage my brain...leaving school at 16 and having no other formal education ...I am now having to take notes (very hard when you rely on lip you go to write the point down you miss the next sentence )
7)Altho I have been a Christian for decades I am learning stuff I didn't even know about...lets face it Messianic Prophecy isn't a lot of use when engaging a 2 year old with Play Dough and whether Jesus was The Lion Of Judah or The Lamb of God isn't of any relevance when running after a 3year old in the park.
8) Being asked direct today I was asked "Why do I love Jesus?"its a sort of intangible  question that my young man who I care for has never really asked me before !!!
9) Today we were also given instructions re our assignments...Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha....and we were also told that there were choices...we could submit them written...or we could choose to "speak" some of the assignments....we could hand write them but preference is for them to be handing in on that USB thingy (!) and then we were challenged to volunteer to be a part of Ben Davies preaching sessions....Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha....Ha Ha Ha.....would anyone like to volunteer.....Brave girl..Gabrielle sitting next to me shot her hand up ...and a second later a voice said..."yep me too"....oh my goodness it was voice...YIKES...Come Back Comfort Zone...all is forgiven..
10) I need to work and earn and couldn't give the time...but the word flexibility is built into Academy and God has somehow engineered it for me to sort of "stretch" time so I get to be where I need to be when I need to be!!

I probably could list more but wanted to give just a flavour of the what Academy is like for me....None of the above list is insurmountable....From the safe and restricting comfort zone of years where I lived in safety I told myself I couldn't do Academy because of 1,2,3,4....etc etc...and here I am 3 weeks on and feeling as if a whole new world has opened up to me....words cant describe I am already changed....

The young students are refreshing and gorgeous....and full of questions and fun to be around and have amazing stories of where and how God encountered them...they are full of zeal and excitement and its contagious...I feel like I am going back to my First Love...Jesus...
The note taking isn't as hard as I thought and the teachers are so willing to repeat if I need it....there are handouts so I can sit back and relax at times.
The students from other countries speak excellent English and altho I am sure I will misunderstand them at times or mis-hear doesn't matter.
I am going to get myself a Smart phone...( I can hear the chuckles and cackles of all my friends and family )
My brain is slowly coming alive again...(hallelujah)
I am determined to serve as best as I can within the time I have available without moaning...and fully expect to be challenged in of my big weakness is to moan when I am moved out of my comfort zone
I am determined to volunteer for as much as I can to grow as much as I can...guess that's why I said yes to the preaching class....
I desperately want the words..."Same Old Same Old"  to be erased from my vocabulary.

So....Granny's Gap year is proving to be heaps and heaps more than what I could ever ask or imagine.!!

Friday, 7 September 2012


Well....its the end of my first week as an official member of The Kerith Academy and what a week it has been.!! I started last Sunday serving at both morning meetings with Konstruction Krew (5-11s) over in K2...arriving at 8.15 am and because we had a Team Lunch I got home around 3pm.

Talk about being thrown in at the deep was the end of the summer programme and to my eyes it was organised chaos...I had absolutely no idea how to play Bible Cricket so just made up the rules as I went along...had fun but not sure if we actually played it correctly. The noise in K2 with children playing games all around me was actually quite scary ...definitely not used to 50 plus children in such a small space playing games I didn't know but hey... "comfort zone" gone in Jesus name !!!

The team lunch was great...just hanging out and eating together ....building community with folks I knew perhaps by sight but not really looking forward to getting to know them better as the year progresses.

Monday evening was spent sorting out my "stuff" it kinda felt like a school child's checklist.

Pens tick
Bag  tick
Packed lunch  tick

etc etc and of course the obligatory early night....

All being well as I slept like a babe but woke at 3.30 am for a drink....and as I bent to get the orange from the fridge I felt really light headed...the next thing I knew I was flat out on the floor between the kitchen and hall...hitting my chin..fingers and left hand side of my chest...obviously low blood sugar and a faint.!!  
I crawled on hands and knees into living room and lay on sofa till I felt able to get back to bed. I was in agony and didn't sleep well at all despite taking painkillers .....BUT..I was determined to make it to Academy the next day ...NOTHING was going to stop me.....

Tuesday was the first day in the office....this was a full on information day as I was introduced to the others in the Team....there are 15 of us of whom 6 are  from either Lithuania or Estonia...(apologies as no idea who is from where at the the moment ) and Heidi from Devon and the rest home grown Berkshire . We had a tour of the church buildings...thought might have been a bit of a bore as I had been around when the jolly church was built but in actual fact it was great to see the changes made over the years as we have grown in numbers and developed so many different ministries. We were also introduced to the staff members and which ministry they were part of...mind boggling numbers of different people and areas....loved The West Wing..!! But mainly we filled in forms and took in dates and times and job descriptions and mercifully escaped early at 3pm....I couldn't wait to get home to lay flat and take more painkillers.

I say mercifully .... as I also was hosting a Kore Team Meeting at my home for the Konstruction Krew gang to come and talk about the term ahead so a quick whizz around with vacuum and sort out of our dinner and set chairs out and wham...back into meeting mode with people I knew by sight but not well...I can see a theme developing here. Painkillers and sleep were becoming my friends. I knew early in the morning when I woke that there was something more than just a knock going on so I headed to Frimley Hospital....only one other person got seen really quick....had x ray and it seems I have two very small fractures at the tip of my left top rib and boy do I know it.....coughing....bending....walking...driving....all incredibly painful but got some major drugs on board so will get through it...4-6 weeks they said before fully healed but I know that God can heal a lot quicker than that. I rested most of Wednesday and was determined to get to Academy for the Teaching Class on Thursday.

So glad I made it.....had an amazing time....hanging out with 14 other people who will become my friends and family over the next year ( I think I am old enough to be every ones mother if not Granny )...on a gorgeous sunny day a great venue...and getting to listen to some quality speakers all rolled into a 6 hour slot more than made up for the fact I was popping pills and moving very slowly. The prayers for healing that they prayed hasn't made a great deal of difference YET  but I am believing that God can heal quicker than 4-6 weeks so watch this space .

So ....Granny's Gap year has well and truly begun...I am excited...overwhelmed...(cried all over several people )..and ready to be changed ...challenged...prodded....and definitely moved way out of my comfort zone.