Shadow Of Victory

Friday, 26 October 2012


Life back to "normal" after our 12 days away in the sun....I didn't make it into the office on Tuesday as we were so delayed getting home it was 3am I think before I feel asleep so spent most of Tuesday zzzzz and sorting out unpacking. But life as we know it resumed on Wednesday...yay...wee boy and me off for a swim together and then Matt and wee boy for afternoon...all well and I was soooo looking forward to Academy day on Thursday after missing two weeks.

It was so fab to see the gang again and be a part of the "buzz"in the room..(note my use of young peoples words .LOL ) but that soon turned to slight anxiety when Ben P announced we were not going to be following the programme but doing somethings different today. YIKES.....I don't do spontaneous and certainly don't do different so anxiety level starts to rise.

Actually the first bit of "different " was great..we got half and hour of silence to "practise the presence of God " and this is my kind of different so was very grateful to have that time just to think and pray and experience God in the silence...Love it.

But then comes the "very different "..Ben announced we were going to have a DEBATE  ...yep lets divide into two teams given a topic and have to debate FOR OR AGAINST  the I am already writing words down on my notebook and they say ..


We settled into our two groups and immediately there are 7 people all talking at once and as we were trying to sort out our thoughts and develop an opening statement I just felt as if the entire world was trying to crawl into my personal space...when I am having to adjust my spectrum of hearing to this kind of setting the actual noise level gets louder...its hard to explain but as each person was trying to be heard and there were several conversations going on at same time as well as the noise from the other group I could feel my heart beat get louder and quicker and then it all goes numb. I quickly realised I would possibly have a complete meltdown if I didn't move out. So...waving my book in my hand I shove it under Ben's nose so he could read it and then made my escape out into garden trying to look cool calm and collected !! Hoping the gang might think I just needed some fresh air !!

Got as far as the steps and the tears just fell out of my know the type ..nothing keeps them back ..gravity pulls and down they go mixing with the snot as I fumbled for my my senses calmed down and I felt less panic stricken I just felt an idiot.. Here I am at 57 years old walking out of the classroom in juvenile is that and worse to come I would have to go back in and face them all...arrggghhhh...where is my car when I need to run away .

I was only out there a matter of 2-3 minutes when the door opened and Ben P and Dan B come out...Rescued by the boys....both young enough to be my sons who just let me be a mess for another couple of minutes ..didn't attempt to fix me..just listened as I tried to explain how I feel at times with my deafness...I immediately felt calmer and more relaxed cos they were obviously understanding me completely.

Strangely it felt absolutely fine going back in after just another couple of minutes....Dan re-assured me I wouldn't have to do anything ..but I could just read the opening statement and the bible verses...he wrote it out for me and let me have a minute or so to get my head round where we were going and what I had to do...then the debate started...I honestly felt complete gave me funny looks..and I felt no embarrassment .!! These students are the best...such treasures ...a generation that God is going to use for great things ..BUT for me ..way more than that I felt they were my friends and in that kind of relationship I could just be myself...didn't have to make excuses or be silly or apologise...just could be me with all my little foibles and hang ups.

I actually enjoyed the debate...but seriously I don't want to go there too often.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


I just read another blog where a friend honoured her buddy and it got me thinking about Friendships in general so while these thoughts are fresh in my mind I thought to blog a little bit about friendships .

I am almost 58 years old so have seen friends come and go and some stay and some wander off and some come to a natural ending and some are doomed for lots of different reasons.

I have no idea where the following quote comes from but it sounds right.!

Some friends are here for a reason
Some friends are here for a season
Some friends are here for life.

I can look back and see where and how my friends have fitted into this wee saying. I have especially valued those friends who have stood by me for decades and seen me at my best and at my worst and still love me and want to spend time with me....they are the ones who are there for LIFE.

As someone whose entire childhood was spent wandering here there and everywhere I rarely was able to keep friendships going but in recent years with the fabby facebook and internet I have regained some of those precious ones who had given me some stability in the middle of my traumas.

Caroline...who I met almost 53 years ago on our first day at matter we haven't seen each other for 30 years ..( she visited me in hospital when I had Andrew ) we have always kept in touch by Christmas letters and cards but now as both of us are Grannys we so enjoy each others lives even tho we may never see each other. Caroline may never know how much I loved her and her family...they were so kind to me and gave me hope for the future at a time when life was bleak. The wee bakery Carolines mum worked ....kept me in pies when I had no dinner money...(pretty sure she sneaked them to us as I never remember anyone paying )

Janie....who I met in my goodness we had some adventures....didn't we.??.. stuff I wouldn't even tell my kids about but it was the early 70s and life was a gas.!!! we experimented with lots of things including  threepenny single ciggies from the corner shop and cider from the Offy when we could sneak it...( not saying any more )...again FBook has brought us back in touch after decades and its been so great to catch up .

Pat....who we shared our boys together for many years...and had so much pain and hurts as we each worked through lives awful next door for years and being there for each other when life was at its toughest....and to see her on my last visit to Scotland knowing how poorly she was broke my heart but just to see her again was so precious....

Friends in the early years down here in Bracknell....Sue...Edie...women of God who introduced me to Jesus...showed all my family love and care and invited us into their hearts and their homes...Norma ..a very special neighbour who took time to show me the sights (!) of Bracknell and Maggie who kept me sane through the early years....all very precious gifts to me at the time....and even though I may not see them often or at all as Maggie died earlier this year my heart is full of memories and thanks for them.

There have been friends who I have worked alongside in childminding or respite care and friends who have been the parents of these very special children and young people...Fiona...Lynn...Isobel...all incredible women who have walked journeys with me and shared the good and the painful especially Ofsted moments and Paediatric First Aid courses,!!! How much the poorer my family life would be without their children ( and young adults) enriching my life....

Looking back over the last 20 plus years I can see several friends who have been there for me for reasons and seasons...we have shared children...child care...swapped jobs and church roles...held each others hands when needed and lent shoulders to lean on and cry on when needed.

Linking a thread through these years have been two very special women...Iris and Bren ...who I can honestly say I wouldn't be the woman I am today if they had been missing in my life...they have consistently propped me up when I have been falling...have wept with me...have laughed with and at me...have holidayed with me and mine...have shared Christmas times..  Easters and birthdays...have rejoiced with me at weddings and special times and have prayed for me and mine when I have run out of spiritual steam..Realistically as Iris is older than me and Bren has cancer I am unsure how long they will be in my life but one thing I know for sure I plan to let them know as often as I can and in as many ways as I can think of just how precious to me they are...

Within this season there are also others who I can mention ... friends who I know will take me "up in their lift " you know who you are....I may only see you once or twice a year for a coffee or just the odd time at church or a conference... but we link up as if the gap of time isn't important at all.

Finally....there is the friendship I share with my daughter....Catriona Elizabeth Mooney...altho I share her now with the fabby Mr Nick Kent.... somehow or other God gifted me this precious child. I never had any kind of relationship with my own mum having a daughter was doubly special for me..yes we have had our tough times but we have been refined together over the years and learned from each other how we tick and how we can be friends but also a mum and a daughter. I am so grateful to God for the gift of Cat...also for the precious sons he gave me too in Michael and Andrew..and the amazing women in their lives too...Debs and are just the best girlys I could ask for and not missing out Mathilda who I think is just the best grand-daughter I could ask for and  for all of them.... I hope we get to enjoy many years of friendship as we all grow old together.

Finally....Finally....the other two  "men " in my life...Chris and hubby is my best ever friend...none can come close to how much I value him and Elisha.....I can say nothing more about him other than he makes my heart smile all the time....and soon he will be keeping company with the latest little bean in the belly ...exciting times in the lives of all my "friends" !!

Sunday, 7 October 2012


It was that time of year again when our church hosts the Summit and Chris and I always volunteer to be there serving . Each year we do this God impacts our lives in  new...fresh and challenging ways. Several years ago we had the amazing experience of actually going to Chicago and being a part of the live event ...but it is just as new and exciting when seen on the DVD screen.

This year the speakers as usual were a mixture of business and church leaders and I thought I would list some of the "phrases" that I heard that made me stop and think...or impacted me. Being half deaf and relying on lip reading always limits my note soon as I take my eyes off screen to write I miss the next part of the sentence so I really only write down a phrase that is striking or that immediately seems to resonate with my spirit . ( one day we will have total communication.....subtitles/ sign language description etc )....I also thought to write about several things that people have either said to me or that I have said to myself over the last 2-3 particular order of importance just as my notes are written.

* Bill Hybels ..( along with Ben D.. is a hero of mine )...repeats his amazing phrase....The Local Church is the Hope of the World.
* 6 x 6 ....Bill talked about planning and preparation bursts...over a six week period write down six things you want to into action..over and above the normal "to do " lists.
* When is the "vision" most when we make plans ...when do we often want to give up...its usually somewhere in the middle...we have huge bursts of excitement and adrenaline at the beginning of some new venture ...then once its up and running we realise it can be a hard slog....discipline and determination. is so needed to keep us pressing on.
*Condoleeza Rice...spoke so well...I don't understand politics and certainly not American world politics but she spoke from her heart of her time in Washington and the world stage.One quote she made..." every life is capable of greatness "
* William Ury was interviewed by Jim Mellado...about Conflict Negotiation...his quote .."The goal is not just  the elimination of conflict...its to find the place of agreement "
* John Ortberg....he spoke incredibly well...but for me was way too complicated in his thinking...I found it difficult to "get" what he was saying...he used words and phrases that held me hostage in that I really had no idea what they meant so failed to process them will need to think my notes through again.
* Craig Groeschel...( another hero of mine ) spoke on the subject of
  "Bridging the Generation Gap " which was one of the best sessions for me....his phrase..
 "IF YOU ARE NOT DEAD THEN YOU ARE NOT DONE" going to be my life motto for next season. He also said..."If you delegate create followers...if you delegate authority you create leaders "....

I missed a couple of sessions as I was counting the offering with Iris....that was so exciting...I had never done this before and I was staggered at peoples generosity...we take up an offering each year to enable leaders from the international community who are unable to finance their own people to come and be a part of the was also so humbling in that several envelopes had 2x 50p coins...the widows mite...made Iris and I stop and think for a few seconds that some can give hundreds of pounds and others 2x 50p...but it is all going to make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people the world over...what was also so amazing is that these 2 x 50p offerings were gift cool is that !

* The final session on day two was again Bill Hybels...he talked so passionately as he unpacked again "The Local Church is the Hope of the World "...
* Chris and I wrapped up our day by hanging out at a final debrief session with the overseas visitors ending with fish and chip suppers....eaten from the paper with our fingers...introducing people from Latvia and Poland to wooden forks and greasy fingers..vinegar and ketchup.
* During this last hour a man appeared at the door of the building...he walked in and Chris had a chat with him...he shared a hard story of what was going on in his we were able to give him fish and chips and a wee half hour of listening to him and show care and compassion...Chris gave him 20.00 and maybe just a wee bit of hope that all was not lost as he went on his way.

Other seemingly small " moments " that touched my heart and spirit and lifted me out of tiredness and into the realm of sharing time with some amazing friends as we served alongside each other...

*  Lunch on the window ledge having a chat with Frances R...takes me "up in my lift" every time..
* The singing  of Happy Birthday to Sue R the event manager at 7.30am on day two as we had our team briefing...and blew out her candles...( love embarrasing the boss lady )
* A ten minute chat to Jacqui WG who threw into the conversation very casually that her E-Learning company have now had 55,000 people do the courses she has pioneered...Gobsmacking.!
* Listening to my daughter Cat K singing ..keep having to remind myself how talented and gifted she is....
* Hanging out in the crew room with Academy Students..who worked so much harder than me...they are stars.
* Being asked by a visitor..."who is the "girl" on the stage with your Pastor Simon..." .LOL...
the " girl " is of course the amazing Catrina...his wife.
* Finding one of the overseas summit leaders was also called IRENE..we instantly hit it off and kept hugging each other.
* Chatting to Sasha from Macedonia..he shared a little bit of his life with me as he talked about the miracle of his first child when all hope of pregnancy was gone.
* The Academy Line Up at 5.30 pm we summoned up the last shreds of energy for a bit of fun ...and we cheered loads of people out of the building...especially a certain Mrs Iris Joyce who swanned up and down as if she was on the Hollywood Red Carpet no less.! Altho Valentine and Harry with their breakdance moves and cossack dancing were just as crazy.
* I had asked Lee LM if he had any "commentaries " I could borrow for my assignment..he so kindly said...yep in the office...I head up to collect it..only to find it is one of those HUGE books which probably weighs about 10 kilos..I had planned to take on hols on Thursday but hey I only have a 20 kilo luggage allowance...will maybe just photocopy the relevant passages...

Finally....I was up at the crack of dawn yet again to serve for Konstruction Krew.....reminding myself...If I am not dead I am not done...but oh boy was I tired...but as usual...God showed up for over eighty 5-11 year old children...led by our Youth Band ...REVOLUTION..they were just outstanding and seeing the younger children worship once again moved me to tears...

BUT.....I am now weary....and so looking forward to heading to Lanzarote for 12 days with our buddies ..sun  and pool...and my 10 kilo commentary...


Thursday, 4 October 2012


I am almost speechless...those of you know who know me well ...may wonder if I have Laryngitis.!! I am rarely without  a verbal collection of words and often I think I have verbal diarrhoea and at times it does spill into the written word too...BUT today ...right now....I am trying so hard to find the right words to convey what today has been like....Actually not just today but the whole experience on The Academy so far.

Instead of trying to make sense of it all and write coherently let me just make some statements.

* I have realised that I have allowed my spirit to get stale and old.
* I have realised what a privilege it is to be able to take time out and give a year to serving and getting to know more of God for myself...
* I am amazed at the excitement that is surging its way into my head...heart...soul..mind..emotions.
* I am humbled...big the young men and women who are teaching at The Academy...most of whom I am old enough to be their mum and possibly even old enough to be their Granny.
* I am eternally grateful to Ben D ...his preaching... decades ago resulted in my salvation and his ongoing leadership...and lifestyle examples continue to influence me ...he is my all time Hero.
* I am sensing a similar gratefulness to Michael Ross-Watson....who is a story teller par excellence and his smile lights up my heart.
* I am challenged daily to press on into God....Today's teaching from Ben D was particularly challenging.
* I am having to change the way I see young people....I can be an old fogey ( try explaining that to our Lithuanians and Estonians )..and hanging out with the Academy gang is opening my eyes to this emerging generation.
* I am really beginning to "get " Liam P...this is related to above point....!!
* I used to sort of boast that I would have it written on my gravestone that " I got all the way through my Christian life without serving in children's work" and yet here I am week after week...for 5 hours on Sunday mornings...seeing God break in to children's lives.
* I am increasingly grateful for Chris...who has released me and encouraged me and supports me in this Gap my friends who are my biggest fans and noisiest cheerleaders...and to my daughter Cat who continually encourages me.
* I am so grateful to  the mum of the young man I care for ...being flexible I can do this year....
* I am thankful for Cat and Nick who give me the joy of caring for Elisha as well as do this year....
* I am looking at this year...not just as a filler ...not just as something I could do...not just because I was bored and thought what a good idea...I am looking at this year to be life changing in so many ways and oh boy...its looking good so far. one of the teaching sessions...God broke in and one of the students...Siim...sensed that God wanted us to pray for healing ...again those of you who know me will know I have had cracked ribs and bruised lung tissue for some weeks and been on fairly strong meds and Anti Inflammatory drugs....The whole Academy prayed for me and ...

God healed me..

Later I was able to drive without wincing when I used the hand brake...push the shopping trolley and carry it into the house...pick up Elisha and play on the floor with him...all with no pain....

God is good....What other words are needed .