Emotions held in ink.

Sharing something of myself during a therapeutic / creative writing session. I realised why and how pastoral care is so important.
It offers something beyond the human. It reaches our inner selves, takes us to the place where love is.
When we connect with love we find it’s source. We realise that we are not alone, Jesus is with us.
Writing has become my way to express myself. To unpick my thoughts and feelings. To journey with my blurred jumbled words alongside Gods word.
I imagined the course would help with this writing (which it did).
I was not prepared for the sad emptiness that I felt on the journey home.
My thoughts and feelings remained on the paper stuffed into my hand bag. My emotions remained held in the ink.
Having just taken myself to some painful places, I needed to end the session with a prayer. Lift the written words from the paper and give them to God.
I made me realise how much pastoral support gives and has given me.
The love that has been poured over me. I have cried, laughed and journeyed to places I never imagined possible.
For me Pastoral care is doing. Its emotional and spiritual support. It’s walking with those in crises and trouble. Supporting those in grief, journeying with them. Sharing their joys, however small that joy might be. It’s seeing the gifts in people, they are possibly unaware they even have. Encouraging sharing in their delight, as they discover these gifts for themselves .
It’s the simple things: liking a Facebook post, a smile, noticing people, making conversation, a birthday greeting, a prayer. a email late at night, that tells someone they are loved.
It’s practical stuff too: it’s doing, it’s being, it’s listening . It’s this practical stuff that shows Christ living through us. It’s the action that comes from loving one another, because we ourselves are first loved by God.
Knowing we are loved is powerful and beautiful it heals. To tell someone they are loved is from God.
We take God to the people in the hands that we hold, the stories that we listen to, tears that we shed with one another, and the prayers we share.
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John 13:34-35 The Message (MSG)
34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

Life built on a foundation of fear .

Day 27 – Lent Challenge – Fear.

Children who have experienced instability, frightening events, or inconsistent care build foundations of fear.
Beliefs which come from a foundation of fear tend to be negative, such as:
• I can’t trust adults to take care of me
• I have to be in control to stay safe
• It’s not safe to love or be vulnerable

Children with such negative core beliefs often have concerning behaviours such as stealing, lying, defiance, etc.
As a foster carer it’s our job to understand these behaviours. We look beyond the fear to the child that is hurt, confused sad and afraid.

They are afraid to love. This blog is for one young person who’s fear of love turned my world upside down.
God prepared me for this. In that preparation I understood this child acted out if fear. It was not personal, they were not to blame.
I understood that fear and love could not co exist. I knew the only way forward for me was to trust God and stay with love.
Love came with understanding and forgiveness. I felt so loved. In the darkness it was love that removed doubt, gave hope and purpose.

The fear this young person felt was contagious. It spread to others they pulled away.
Logic and reason was replaced by fear. The fear of making a bad error of judgement.
Those that came alongside us and walked us through our pain held and loved us. Their love came from God not fear. They listened with love. They prayed for us and with us,
held and surrounded by love.
Love does not take away the pain that fear causes. Love does not stop fear trying to destroy your life. Love does not have the answers.
Gods love gave us a future and hope. Gods love stopped the pain becoming fear. Gods love gave us focus through the blur and numbness.Gods love was supporting and always their.
I have learnt to put my trust in God. That trust gave me the strength to cope with the devastation left by fear.

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Love is joyful sacrifice.

Day 26 – Lent Challenge – Sacrifice.
To love requires us to give something of ourselves. Love is a gift that is given from God to us. A gift that keeps on giving.
When we love we give time and tangible help. We cannot love if we don’t give. We love because we are loved. When we give, we always receive something back in return even if we don’t see that return ourselves.
Love requires sacrifice, love is not a word it’s a action from within. When we give, we should focus on the joy of giving, not the sacrifice involved. When we love, we automatically sacrifice, it’s not a conscious decision it’s a product of love. Our sacrifice may be obvious to others but not to ourselves. If it were obvious than it would not be a sacrifice but a job a chore not done in love.
Today’s blog is for a lady with the warmest biggest heart. She has given everything to her children , grandchildren and great grandchildren. God is at the heart of all she does. Her love extends past her family and into our community.
This lady has helped me see the importance of making space for myself. Finding a place to recharge my batteries. To be with God,
Making time, not robbing time from sleep eating or family. Time not spent thinking about my every growing todo list. Time spent looking inwards growing my relationship with God. Giving time for prayer, worship and deepening myself. Remembering who I am remembering and why I love.
Stopping long enough to feel that deep love that comes from God. Stopping is never sacrifice it’s a joy.
Writing every day over lent has made me realise that I don’t make enough time to just be me. I need to feel the soil in my hands I need to be outside.
That’s when God talks to me at his loudest. I need to reconnect with myself and in doing so with God. I need to pause long enough to recharge my heart. To garden my soul. Look inwards and not create words that challenge me, but look inwards and feel the Joy of knowing God.
God came to me as a feeling, a presence, a voice that said you can do this, I am with you. God came to me without words. The words took along time to form, the words that slowly came from my heart. It’s going back to the God the resides in my heart as a feeling not words. It’s taking myself away from trying and thinking, going outside and just being me and God.

Not sure if I had just hit the bloggers wall. Having some sort of mini lent melt down or just worn out and over emotional after a tough week. With 14 more blogs to write it’s getting harder but than I guess this was not meant to be easy.

John 13:35 The Message (MSG)
34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

A Joy that I took for granted.

Day Ten – Lent Challenge 2018 – Joy.

Thank you God for our beautiful daughter.
The joy of holding her in my arms for the first time. That magical connection and a out pouring of unconditional love.
It’s a joy that I took for granted. A joy that I believed was mine to own and to hold onto.

I never could have imagined the life that laid in front of me.
The children I carried and never held. The children I held and than let go.
I could have never imagined a life when joy would have a different meaning.
In the last 3 years 10 months and 9 days God has transformed my life.
A transformation that enabled me to find joy in the midst of pain.
Even in the darkest days when sadness, grief, and loss threatened to overwhelm me Gods joy never left me.
It’s a deep joy that has allowed me to cry and grieve but stopped me from drowning.
It’s a joy that’s hard to explain- A joy that comes from God.


James 1:2-4 The Message
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

A choice that was no choice at all.

Reading someone else’s blog the following words shouted out from the page.

“You had a choice,” she said, “but you did not have free will.” A choice that was no choice at all.

These words have been said to me in similar ways more than once in the last 18 months. In my grief they offered no comfort. I was not ready to hear the words “no choice”, not ready to believe that I had no choice at all.

I had no choice but to turn and walk away.
Holding you in my arms, I told you a life with this new family would be so much better than a life with me.
Expressed my happiness in all that was happening.
I told you that it was going to amazing and wonderful.
A choice that was no choice at all.
I hugged you a hug of a thousand words.
Inward tears streamed inside of me .
I smiled so you understood it was ok.
A smile that was just muscles moving my face.
It was a smile that wanted to scream.
I had no choice but to smile.
No choice but to leave and not look back.
I could not look back.
You trusted me.
You could not see my face grumbling in grief .
Relief momentarily numbed the pain.
Relief that I held it together.
Relief that I made it outside before I gave into searing heat of breaking pain.

A choice that was no choice at all.

No choice is why I could not cry.
No choice why you could not stay.
I had no choice but to leave and say goodbye.

I had free will but no choice.

Loving Father
Please let your will be done in my life. If it’s not your will let it slip through my grasp. Give me the strength to forgive those that hurt the ones I love. Give me the courage to face my fears. The peace not to worry about the things I cannot control or change.
Amen.

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Missing This Christmas.

Dad won’t be sat at the Christmas table today.
Joanne will not turn up overloaded with beautifully wrapped grifts.
Dad won’t complain the sprouts are overdone.
Joanne won’t delight us with her stories .
But they will be with us this Christmas .

Our little boy won’t run down stairs to see if Santa has been.
Our little girl will not ask if it’s morning yet.
But presents will be brought.
Santa will come
They will be with us this Christmas.

Mum won’t sit at the head of the table.
Our large family of children will not cause chaos.
Mum won’t refuse us ice-cream and custard.
Children’s delightful faces will never be seen.
But they will be with us this Christmas.

I keep them all alive .
In ways that others might not see.
My prayers today are for them the ones I and cannot see.

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Bananas May Contain Children.

When I imagine a drive in movie, I think big American, cars rock n roll, poodle skirts and the movie Greece.

I don’t really think much past that image . Until I saw a shared post on Facebook . Cardboard box cars all lined up containing children watching a film. This allowed me to not only reimagine it but when shared it become a reality . On Saturday our community had its very own drive in movie night.

Its such a simple idea, children make cars out of cardboard banana boxes adding embellishments. With plenty of imagination the boxes were transformed. After making the cars and parking them up a tea was provided . The children soon settled into their cars and enjoyed the film.

It has made me think how we label and stereotype often not being prepared to see past what we already know.
The children sat in boxes clearly labeled bananas. To everyone in that room they sat in cars.
The boxes had been beautifully crafted by the children. Adding paper wheels, some even had cup holders. Cars were unroad worthy some even multi occupancy but they were obviously cars.
Sitting enjoying the film my mind started to wonder. It made me think how Jesus does not label us, and how much we label .
On the outside boxes are clearly labeled bananas . So we should expect to find bananas on the inside.
Why would we find anything else? Its obvious why we have to label boxes.
But why are we so keen to label people ?
No one wants their identity boiled down to one thing, even if the label is a strength, a talent, or a gift. Even positive labelling restricts us . Puts us in a box that’s hard to get out of.
The way we label people is something I have always felt strongly about even in my teenage years it frustrated me . Caring for a little person with additional needs and finding my faith has strengthened my feeling about the way we judge and label people without much thought or consideration to them.
We can make decisions so quickly. Putting people into categories because of their jobs, looks, religion or race. It’s easily to do, we have all done it. It’s only by getting to know people and genuinely wanting to be with them understand them do we remove those unwanted labels.

Labels can really hurt, keep you from being who you really are.
I need to live my life by what I feel inside. Not the labels that others give me, or even the labels I give myself.
The labels I have carried and given myself are no longer significant, they no longer limit me in the way they used to . I am learning to see and live beyond my labels.
Jesus set me free from my labels allowed me to peel them back.
I am so much more than a label. I am a child of God and that’s all I am and who I am.

We could have described our drive in movie afternoon afternoon as “A fresh expression of church lead by an evangelical team ” it could equally be “Community family drive in movie night” .
Its was all those things but it was just simply to me one thing God at work .
Its being involved in lives of the families in our community.  It’s The conversations we have, love we have for them, the love of Christ that we want to share with them. Jesus loves us and that’s the message I want to share. “ you are loved “ . Loved without labels, loved on your good days and bad days . It’s good to loose the long words that not everyone understands and think just about what’s at the heart of what we do.

Psalm 139:14Good News Translation
I praise you because you are to be feared;
all you do is strange and wonderful.
I know it with all my heart.

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Pray For The Miracle Of Adotion.

Sun rises: pray for the Miracle of Adotion.
In the U.K 4,000 children are waiting for adotion.

I pledge to pray for families; children in the care system and those involved in adoption.
When I first read on the “Thy Kingdom Come” website find some extreme places to pray and film yourselves doing it. I thought of all the beautiful places I could pray: high on a mountain, in a darkest cave, under water in the depth of the sea, riding my bike through the countryside.
When I read it again I realised that I can see God’s beauty and creation in all of these places.
But to others these are not places of beauty but are the extremes of their lives.
The forgotten families and children of our society, often out of sight and unnoticed.

Dear Giving God.
I thank you for the open hearted families that make adoption possible.
Pray for those children; waiting adoption, families waiting for children, the new adoptive and all families that have had their hearts touched by adoption.
Give them strength and perseverance to guide them though the good days and bad days.
Bless them with friends and families that can support them and understand their needs.
Pray for the birth mothers of these children; that they to are supported and shown love and compassion.
Adotion is never easy, each unique beautiful child is a gift from God.
Adoption in a miracle.
Amen.

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Full of possibilities.

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ.
I watched the video clip below and felt full of possibilities. Would it really only take 20 seconds of insane courage to share what’s in my heart.
My mind is full of words that I want to share, my heart is full of Gods love. It’s finding the voice to share them that’s difficult.
Sharing what’s inside me keeps surfacing in my prayers and my thoughts . My blog is a great way, but it’s a small anonymous way.
Needing to make a difference to others especially children is at the heart of my thoughts.
This week many doors have closed and I have been given the opportunity to have my voice heard.
An opportunity that may allow me to highlight the desperation faced every day by families in the care system. An opportunity to tell others how God’s love has changed my life.
This opportunity has its negatives as well as the positives. Is it right to draw attention to myself? Is this really an opportunity or is it temptation that will bring me pain and regret?
Will this opportunity push me to pursue more than I can handle go beyond my limitations and loose sight of what is important to me?
Will it stop me living with God with the beliefs I have? Will it take my voice but use it in a way I never intended and hurt those I love in the process.
Praying about it reading bible scripture is all a part of the process. Allowing the Holly Spirit to guide me taking time to listen to my inner voice and follow what’s in my heart.
Is this part of Gods plan? Am I to afraid to walk through an opening door as another door closes behind me?
Being true to what God has put in my heart is the key to my happiness and the happinesses of others.
Reading this back through I have answered my own questions and my heart says No.

1 Timothy 6:9 – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

Thy Kindom Come Trailer from

Faith and Haffertee.

Day Thirty Four – Journey  – lent challenge

Today I wanted to say thank you to all the people that have helped me on my journey to faith, encouraged me when I did not listen , prayed for me when I did not pray , nurtured the small beginnings and give me the encouragement to grow.
The first step in my journey was being baptised so thank you mum and dad for sorting that bit out.
Thank you for my wonderful grandmother, who filled my life with prayer and prayed with me and for me , the trips to the church yard to tend to the family graves and visits to the church .
Thank you to Mrs Howard for teaching me Psalm 23 , giving me a palm cross each year and showing so much excitement when she talked about her faith.
Thank you to United Reformed Sunday school where each week we would sing When the road is tough and step ( number 66 in the yellow Sing to God book, it’s strange what you remember).
I enjoyed sitting in the back room for bible studies where I would daydream out of the window at the workers on the allotments I am sure I was listening at the same time.
Massive thank you to Janet and John Perkins for reading  Haffertee Hamster Dimond to us in church with Howl Owl and Haffertee , Stories of faith told though the eyes of a hamster, these books have given me and many children in my care great comfort over many many years.
Jump from age Age 10 to 43 with not much faith in my life, but all that time unbeknown to me I was building up an amazing foundation that I could build my faith on.
Thanks to Tina  for seeing the little buds and helping them flower, for believing in me and supporting me though the good days and not so good days .
When I look back I am so grateful for all the people that prayed for me and pointed me softy in the right direction until I was ready myself to find God and change my life around .
Thank  you to everyone I have meet on my journey so far and excited as I journey forwards.

Psalm 23Good News Translation (GNT)

The Lord Our Shepherd[a]
23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
2 He lets me rest in fields of green grass
and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.
3 He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths,
as he has promised.
4 Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
I will not be afraid, Lord,
for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.
5 You prepare a banquet for me,
where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honored guest
and fill my cup to the brim.
6 I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
and your house will be my home as long as I live.

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