A Prayer for my sister.

Day 34 – Lent challenge – Accept.

I sat on my mums lap, her arms wrapped around me. She moved slowly and rhythmically as she held me in her arms. It comes so naturally to her. We sat together with other families listening to the story of Jacob and Esau.
A story where sibling rivalry try’s to distort and destroy all it touches. The story of two bothers fighting over the love of their father, fighting over what they both consider to be rightfully theirs. It’s God that sees these two brother reunited .
My beautiful mother knows so well the pain caused when siblings fight each other. You see my sister and I are not exactly the best of friends.

This lack of friendship does not stop me loving my sister. Just as last night I was not to big ( just over sized ) to sit on my mums lap. Being held in her love surrounded by Gods love.
Listening to a story that in so many ways echoes my own relationship with my sister.
Our story is a painful story. The saddest thing about our story is we both hurt the person we love; our mum. I can no longer accept this. I would never want my actions to hurt others. So why do I constantly hurt my mum.
The biggest reason is fear. It’s a selfish fear for which I am sorry. It’s a fear that my sister will hurt me as she has done in the past. I fear her scheming, deception and the way she can manipulate me. Taking advantage of my weaknesses, leading me to a place of trust only to hurt me as she has done before.
This is no longer an acceptable way to behave. I no longer have to face these fears alone, I am ready to move forward. Taking that leap of faith, knowing that wherever I land God will be with me. In my weakness, he is strong. I pray that we can be reconciled together in some way. What ever way this happens I know God will be a part of that reunion. A reunion that will give peace and joy to my mum.

Last night as we were listened to the story of Jacob and Esau the listening turned into acting. The last part of this story is reconciliation and of course a hug. It’s amazing how much more powerful words are when accompanied by actions. We all played roles, I was one of many donkeys. Jacob and Esau were played by twin boys. Seeing these boys walk towards each other and give each other a awkward hug was profound and moving . After a hug we had prayers. We prayed for people that we wanted to build relationships with. We prayed for broken relationships and healing.
Praying with children and their families is always a privilege and a joy. Being with them as they explore and grow in faith is awesome . I get so excited by their prayers. The language the children use to talk to God is always so pure and humbling. It excites me how obvious children make faith, how uncompleted it is to them. As adults we over complicate something so simple and beautiful as prayer.

A Prayer for my sister.

Loving God
This is pray for my sister.
I pray from my heart through you to her heart.
I ask that we see each other and love each other as sisters should.
That in this loving we heal past hurts and soothe past deeds.
I ask for forgiveness for the pain we both cause to each other and those that love us.
I pray that our families can be joined in love, your love.
Lord I ask that somehow you open doors and opportunities for our relationships to heal and grow.
That we will have the wisdom to see and use these opportunities for love. That from that love friendships may form and grow.
I pray for the sense and understanding to be realistic and accept the path this journey will take.
Please give me the strength to listen to you. I ask that my words will be kind, my thoughts loving and my actions sincere.
I ask that we will find peace hope and forgiveness as we journey with you.
Amen.

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2 Corinthians 12:9 Good News Translation (GNT)
9 But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me.

Family.

Day 15 -Lent challenge 2018 – Family.

This blog is to my wonderful beautiful friend (my second mother).
A strong lady that listened and loved me as I did her.
She had a natural earthy connection to our world. Her front door was always open, her home a warm inviting place to go and just be me. I always left her house covered in dog hair and happy.
She understood me, never minced her words. Saying what she saw at the same time understanding,acknowledging what was going on in my world.
Her eyes lost their sparkle I was just finding mine.
She had started to talk to me about her faith journey. A part of her that she had never shared with me before.
Being terminally ill seemed to make her faith more reachable more connected.
In her final weeks she would share a prayer or we would just sit silently together.
My faith was still so new to me. I was still so confused by everything I felt. She knew God was changing me. Yet I was still not able to find the words to tell anyone what I was feeling. She could see the little change in me that others could not .
Faith was something we never had the chance to explore together. I often wonder what she would be saying to me today .
The last thing she said to me was you are beautiful. We held hands so tightly that day knowing we would never hold hands again.
Four weeks after her death I was confirmed. My faith journey reaching a milestone that I could not share with her.
The empty space she left was already being filled by God.I was exploring a new place to be me; prayer. I was feeling God in my life.
I started forming friendships within the church family. New friends that I could laugh and cry with. Friends that understood.
My beautiful friend left me just as I was discovering a whole new world and family.
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Proverbs 3 Good News Translation
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way.

Grief and Pain.

Day Two – Lent Challnge 2018 – Remember.

A part of me died when my dad finally lost his battle to cancer.
I’ve never experienced anything like it. It left a devastating black hole in my world.
I suddenly realised my vulnerability. I had lost the person that wiped away my tears. I had lost the person that loved me unconditionally.
Who else would get excited when my plants flowered ? Who else understood the joy when my seedlings germinated ?
It was my Dad that understood those simple Joys.

Functioning again and moving forward seemed impossible. I longed to make sense of why I lost my dad before he even retired.

Today’s blog is not about my Dad. It’s a thank you to the vicar that took his service. Its remembering the time she took before the service to offer me some words of comfort.
She put death of my parent in its rightful place giving me an understanding of why.
She explained we will all lose our parents. It would be wonderful if our parents grew old before we lost them, but it does not always work like that.
What ever happens we lose our parents. We deal with the grief and the pain. It has to happen that’s the order of life.
At some point in my life I would have to say my goodbyes to my Dad; that some point was now.

I remember looking at my daughter as she spoke the next words to me. Children should bury their parents, not the other way round.
Holding my daughter tightly my face wet with tears Something inside made a small step to understanding why.

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Ecclesiastes 3 The Message (MSG)

There’s a Right Time for Everything.
9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

Deliver.

Day Thirty Eight – Deliver -Lent Challenge.

I loved my job as a post lady, spending time outside delivering letters and parcels to the same group of houses for over two year. During that time I got to know all my houses and all my people. I knew the names of their children, the schools they went to, where they went on holiday, when they were on holiday, those that had speeding tickets, birthdays, anniversaries. I delivered cards congratulating on a new baby. I delivered sympathy cards, love letters, passports and premium bond wins .

Each person known by their front door and by name, I very rarely saw the person behind the door.
That’s not unlike my non existent relationship with God that I used to have ( before 2014 ). I had no idea he knew everything about me. I just bumbled along my life totally unaware that God was with me. I used to question and wonder how there could even possibly be a God in a world of so much pain.
I just could not see it myself, but he was waiting for that day I opened my heart to him. I still find this totally amazing.

I used to find it very strange that God knows me so well, even a little uneasy about it all .
God knew that I did not believe in him, knew that I could not understand why others believed.
He knows my thoughts and understands my pain. When I behave in a way that I should not he is still there. I now find it a comfort, a reassurance that what ever happens in my life I will never again be alone, never be in a dark place with no way out.

Psalm 147:3-5Good News Translation

He heals the broken-hearted
and bandages their wounds.

He has decided the number of the stars
and calls each one by name.

Great and mighty is our Lord;
his wisdom cannot be measured.

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Rules of love

Day 29 – Live _ Lent Challenge .
The rules and laws set out for us in our modern world seem negative and often their seems to be a gap in how we want to live our lives as Christian’s and what the rules say we can and can’t do.
How often do we read rules ? That include the words love, strength, heart, soul and forgiveness . We are more likely to read rules which include words threat, cannot, restricted, prosecute, judge, illegal and penalty .
Laws and rules are set rigid they do not allow for compassion they do not bend listen or understand circumstances .
Rules that are made in fear , to protect governments , organisations and the population as a whole and do not cater for the individual.
We are a society scared of being sued , scared of each other , so we create rules and laws out of fear.

” Love the lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your strength and all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself”
It’s a rule for life, away of living ,no negative words, just being told what we can do and most importantly you most do it with love.

Luke 10:27New International Version (NIV)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.”

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The less we look with our eyes – the more we will see.

Day 23- lose – lent challenge 

Everything has a home, the keys live in the top draw of the telephone table , my bike lock lives in the basket of my bike.
The dog lead belongs in the draw with all the dog stuff, and the tv remote control lives on the shelf under the telly.
All these things have a home a place to keep them, so I and others know where they are.
So why can’t I find any of them when I need them, it’s because I don’t put them away in the right place.
It’s frustrating for me and even more frustrating for my husband as I all seem to do is look for things I have not put away , it’s a good job I can call my phone or I would be constantly looking for that ( this does cause problems if I put it on silent ).

For someone that looses everything, how did I find my faith and allow god to be part of my life.
When I look for my keys I run around using my eyes trying to remember the last time I had them , God has always been with me never lost , just waiting patiently for me to work it out .
Instead of running around, I stopped and kneeled closed my eyes and looked with my heart and prayed .

Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

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Celebrate the strangest things

Day 18 – celebrate -lent challenge 
Parenting a child with disabilities you celebrate the small things , the little things that we only hoped and dreamed they would achieve .
We no longer take anything for granted than everything else’s is a  blessing , we know our children won’t reach the mile stones in a time society expects them to.
We celebrate the strangest things , I remember being over joyed, when I left my child at nursery and they cried, it was amazing it meant they wanted to be with me, had started to form some attachment to me .
We celebrated the medical that showed they where only 18 months behind in their development not two years .
Look small , keep it small , nurture small and it will grow , it does not matter how small a thing is celebrate it, be thankful for each day and spend some time remembering those that feel they have nothing to celebrate and help them see the little things to, it’s a beautiful world if you look.

Matthew (GNT)
“It was because you do not have enough faith,” answered Jesus. “I assure you that if you have faith as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this hill, ‘Go from here to there!’ and it will go. You could do anything!”

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Hospitality is love

Day sixteen  – lent challenge – Hospitality 

Entering a church opening the old doors gives feels me with wonder , what’s inside what will it feel like , walking into church feeling the spirituality of it, the high ceilings that call you to look upwards , the silence and stillness, escaping form the hustle and bustle of the modern world. I place to pray and ponder to be alone but not be alone .
I recently visited a church that seemed to be more about the brand of coffee it was serving than about a place a worship.
It was a place of high tech audio equipment , screens on every pillar, microphones, drum kits, computers and open plan offices and a coffee shop, looking upward the eye was drawn to the cables weaving their way in and out of the pillars.
Coffee was served with a smile and brought to the table but where was god ??
I found myself trying to pray trying to connect with something anything but nothing was their the experience was cold and in need of love, god was missing.

Hospitality is so much more than a branded cup of coffee, hospitality is love , god is love , the lady’s that make coffee each week in our church and at church events are gifted in conversation welcoming smiling , washing up, working in the back ground often unseen but so very valued, they don’t sell a branded coffee , they share and show what it is to be loved by god.

Perhaps this is the moment you were created for” Esther 4:14.

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Waiting Transforms Our Character

Day Fifteen –  lentchallenge – wait 
I don’t have my life map, I have at times no idea where I am going , one thing that I am learning my life map is not completely mine, when I choose to ignore my Christian beliefs and map out my own path I change the course and stop following my life map god has planned for me.
It’s a bit like taking short cuts cheating on a diet , you don’t gain in the long term just make the journey longer and often more painful these little detours that we make on our journey are what transforms our characters make us who we are.
Life is a journey and it’s not about reaching the destination it’s what we do to get to that destination, waiting for the right direction at the right time .
I often question why I waited so long to see what was right in front of me, why I was so blind to gods amazing love for so many years .
But all the years god was with me watching waiting for me to discover what was right in front of my own eyes – god was transforming me patiently waiting for me to open my heart and mind to the world I know now and am trying to understand.
A world in which we are loved unconditionally , a world that individuals can make a difference and a world in which we are never alone . that’s got to be worth waiting for.

Luke 12:27 Good News Translation (GNT)

27 Look how the wild flowers grow: they don’t work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. 28 It is God who clothes the wild grass—grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t he be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have!

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Pray to close the gap

Day thirteen –  lent challenge – hunger
We live in a area of mass expansion , the village I grew up in has become a town , a place where Strangers live , a place where I no longer say hello and know many of the person I meet and it’s somewhat lost it’s community as it gets divided up further and further.
The schools are over subscribed and our infrastructure is buckling under the strain of mass development many local people live in poverty .
Some of the congregation of our church where born in a village and find themselves living in a ever growing town almost oblivious to the expansion and the way lives have changed for the people living and working around them.
Yet in our town people will be hungry , mums will be going without food to feed their children , the food bank becomes a vital support for families without enough money to buy basics.
People we pass in the street are anonymous to us, we are blind to them often refusing to believe that in our town people are hungry and living in poverty.IMG_5554
Just because we live a good life in a beautiful location we need to keep our eyes open and help those in need on our doorsteps.
We need to build stronger communities, stop hiding in our church buildings and loose the fear of meeting ordinary local people , listen to people around us, serve them as Jesus did , understand the reality of their stories and believe that as individuals we can make a difference .

Romans 12 “11-13 – The Message  Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.”

Please have a look at to find out what you can do – http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/