Love that drives knowledge.

Undeveloped, disorganised, immature, lacks direction and fullness would be a fair description of the end of my garden. Yet this part of my garden has great potential. Its a place that one day will have cottage garden boarders. A meadow rich with native flowers, fruit bushes and fruit trees all giving a plentiful harvest. The glass house will be organised, uniformed, seedlings labeled, cold frames full of young plants getting ready to be planted out into the boarders.
Their will be an ambulant aroma of herbs ranging from the bitter to the sweet.
I can only see the faults in this part of my garden. I can only see the plants that have not thrived. I can only see what needs to be done. I can see it’s faults and in them my own.
It creates a restlessness, I fidget constantly drawn to the things that do not really matter. While often missing the things that do matter.
The garden moves and changes as I try and understand what this garden needs to be. The paths will one day find their direction. I will one day blend the colours seamlessly within the boarders. The fruit trees will fruit and the meadows will be a drift of pastel colours. But just not yet.
Something’s we are just not ready for, we can’t rush our growing or our learning . Wisdom and knowledge does not only come with age and experience it comes from love.
This weekend I meet the most magnificent Mulberry tree. The genus name of the mulberry is Morus derived from the Latin word mora meaning “delay” because the mulberry tree is one odd the last trees to bud in the spring. The mulberry could possibly be the wisest tree of all waiting until the frosts have pasted before safely budding. It’s a wonderful tree that is indigenous to Persia (Iran).  A tree that teaches me its ok to be slow. In the slowness their is a delayed beauty, a slowness of learning that I need to embrace. It’s a knowledge that needs to be felt as much as learnt, to dance in its mystery to journey in Gods love.
I learn when I climb over barriers to hug an accident mulberry tress. I grow when I watch the sun rise. The knowledge of love is in the cinema, it’s in my messy garden, it’s in the people that I meet and the encounters we have Jesus.
A timeless love that waits for us to flower. It’s a love far greater than knowledge. It’s a love that I surrender to, a love that brings knowledge alive.
Without love the knowledge will die, Its love that drives me to knowledge. It’s not knowledge that drives me to love.
Like the majestic mulberry tree I am also slow to bud. I am slow in understanding the written knowledge of Scripture. I am slow to write and slow to read. But it does not mean I won’t flower. It does not mean I don’t understand or love.
Wrapping my heart and arms around Morus nigra ( mulberry ) connected me not only with God but to myself, to be myself. To stay true to the love that grows in my heart. A love that makes me hungry for knowledge. Love that is rooted and woven within me and the community in which in live.

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Luke 17:6
6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

Film night.

It’s inspiring, exciting almost contagious when you share conversations with people that are passionate and knowledgeable about a their interests.
It’s a privilege when someone takes the time to explain and share something of their story with you. When we stop and listen with genuine interest, barriers can be removed thoughts and ideas shared.
We get a window into what drives them, what excites them. I learn so much from just being around amazing people ( inside and outside of church). Hearing how they have overcome obstacles, holding onto their personal goals and visions.
These people inspire me to overcome my personal obstacles to share what’s in my heart with others.

Today’s blog is for a man whose passion for old films has had such a positive input in my life. This man is Noel Cronin, Noel and his family ( total of 3 staff ) are the staff behind the TV film channel talking pictures.
Noel Cronin started off as a post-boy in the giant Rank Organisation, Britain’s leading film company. He became an assistant in the cutting room and then an editor at the central office of Information. He later set up a film distribution company and bought up rights to a number of old British films, believing that one day there’d be a big demand for them.
His film collection is described by his daughter as a labour of love.
I have always had a passion and love for film. The first time I met my husband was in the queue at our local cinema.
Talking pictures TV has brought this love of film into our home. To the point that we rarely now watch main stream television. The channel provides me with a fascinating window into the past I especially like the British films that show ordinary people just going about their daily lives, getting a glimpse life in a different era .
The war time propaganda films is another interest to me. They tell us the story the government wanted us to see. Films that painted a romanticised picture of life during war time Britain.
The films bring such richness in their story telling. They don’t rely on special effects or vast budgets. These films are just so refreshing different to the films we have today.

Films made in a era when cinema attendance was at a all time high. A time when church and faith was a visible part of life to many people.
Watching films and sharing films is something we love to do. Nights at the cinema with friends. Film night at home with friends and family is a monthly highlight. Films carefully chosen distractions removed. We all settle down with a pot of tea and biscuits and watch together. The films often open up discussion on life, values and faith.

The channel show a vast range of films, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Not every film is good but with the channel showing films 24/7 there is usually a gem at least once a day.
I have far to many favourites to share with you. Here’s a little review of just Four that come to mind.

Heavens above- 1963

This wonderful film shows the Rev Smallwood attempting to live out the gospel in a parish populated by elitist landed gentry. He quickly becomes unpopular in the village. One of my favourite lines in the film is when the Bishop complains that Rev Smallwood keeps bringing God into everything he says and does.
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The Holy and The Ivy – 1952
The film takes place as a family returns home on Christmas Eve. None of them are very happy and are hiding their troubles. Felling they can’t divulge their sins to their father ( Rev Gregory ). They fear being judged, that they will receive a religious lesson if they discuss their problems with him.
Rev. Gregory is oblivious to the unhappiness of his family surrounding him. When the Reverend realises his children never brought their pain to him and why, he feels he has failed as a religious figure—he tells them he isn’t there to criticise but to help.

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Born of the Sea – 1949

There is a lovely African proverb “ it’s takes a village to raise a child “ this film shows the love of a small coastal community as they raise the small child that they find adrift in a boat. The film talks to me about family, that we are all family, Gods family. In that family we have shared responsibilities to each other. We need to open our doors and hearts to those in need. Loving and caring for the strangers that met and journey though life.
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Conspiracy of Hearts- 1960
Italian nuns risk everything smuggling Jewish children out of a German internment camp and transporting them to safety. It’s a film that is as complex as its simple. The film is so rich It would be unfair to try and sum it up in four lines. The bible verse below came to mind when I watched this film.
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Ruth 1-16
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.

Valued and Loved.

Day 33- Lent challenge – Give

We need four hugs a day for survival, Eight hugs a day for maintenance 12 hugs a day for growth.
We really don’t hug enough. Twelve hugs a day for growth that’s almost one hug for every waking hour.
There’s something about the raw simplicity of a genuine hug. There’s beauty in that simplicity. It’s love compassion and peace. A gift that holds you in the moment. A hug is love in action, love without language. It’s love from within spilling out from our hearts into our arms.
Theirs a human connection in a hug. Jesus touched the untouchable, embraced the children. Jesus did not wave from a distance, acknowledge our pain with a dutiful smile. He did not love and heal with an a understanding nod of his head. He embraced.In that embracing opening a way to God, forming human connections and expressions of love. To hug and love each other is profound and real. A living connection to God. A loving connection that children by their very nature understand. A connection as adults we forget.
I defiantly think we should hug more.
I read the other day that a hug is an outward sign of an inward grace. It expresses our spiritual oneness with God and each other.
What could be more beautiful?

Todays blog is a thank you to a very special person. A humble friend with a big heart. They give the warmest most sincere hugs. It’s a gift to be able to hug as they do. Being loved by God while being held in their loving arms. Held in the moment, valued and loved, it’s a transfer of emotions.
I need to challenge myself to hug more. Reaching out to those I love and those who need to feel love and compassion .
Remember we need four hugs a day for survival, Eight hugs a day for maintenance 12 hugs a day for growth.
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Matthew 11:28-30 Good News Translation (GNT)
28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. 30 For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.”

To ask over and over and over again.

Day 18 – Lent challenge – Ask
When I write my blogs I normally find a bible passage that fits my blog. Mark 10 13-16 always stands out to me. Today it spoke to me in a different way.
My thinking is far from joined up but here’s a go at why it made me think about the second child that we fostered.
So today’s blog is for a 2.5 year boy that came to live with us for only 10 days.
This little boy never stayed at the centre of anyone’s world. He had no voice, no power to change things. No person to trust.
He made me aware of the pain caused to families by parental imprisonment.
No one looked at life through his eyes. No one tried to make things better for him. Paper work and produces just kept getting in the way of this little boys simple request to be with his mummy.
He knew what he wanted and constantly asked for it. Without raising his voice or getting angry he would just walk to the front door and ask for mummy key (he called her mummy key as he associated her with prison keys).
This little boy had only one thing on his mind. The relationship with his mother who could meet his needs.
I could physically meet his needs as his foster carer. But I could never be his mother that loved him unconditionally. No amount of toys and games could fully distract him. It was obvious to him what he needed to do make his life whole. To ask over and over and over again.
I think what I am trying to say is the system kept my little boy away from the unconditional love of his mother.
We fill our lives with so much we become that system. Keeping ourselves away from the unconditional love of God our father.
We have a choice to be with God. To pray to listen to him or just to be. He will not turn us away he loves us. The bars we create between us and God can be removed just by asking.
When we have a relationship with God our heart becomes whole. We receive his grace. Grace pours out love and kindness to all who trust in him.
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Mark 10:13-16 The Message (MSG)
13-16 The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

 

Softening of the heart.

Day Severn – Lent Challenge 2018 – Search.

Being a foster parent is as challenging as it is rewarding., You’re expected to love and care for a child as if they are your own. On the other hand, you’re expected to let that child leave your home after weeks, months, or years: whenever the circumstances are deemed appropriate.

I thought I was able to do this by hardening my heart. Care for children with every last bit of me but not to love.
To love them equally as my own child and then lose them was to high a price to pay for me.
I cared and loved enough to make it work, but not enough to give them myself fully.
I harden my heart.

The whirlwind that arrived in our lives was a challenging little boy that I cared for passionately
Our lives were turned upside down we never stopped.
In the early months, chronic asthma and hospital admissions become routine. Nights in hospital chasing a wheezing hyperactive toddler high on steroids was the norm.

I was never ready to face the next day- Never sure what it might bring. Six months into his placement we received a phone call from his social worker “ Would we adopt this little boy as it was felt he was not suitable for adoption ”

The question was asked without warning: It was asked over the telephone, It was asked to an exhausted me, I was asked when I did not have time to listen.

I was angry.
I was angry that it was even asked of us.
Angry the way that it was asked.
Angry that I was asked to think about loving this little boy.

I was angry that in searching deep inside myself for the answer to his question I allowed my heart to soften.
Angry that my protection from love had been broken.

I allowed myself to feel the most powerful love for this child.
The love that I was trying not to give.
In the search for an answer, my heart softened and loved.
I felt the pain that love brings.

I was not afraid to love this little boy.
I often see that day as a milestone in my faith journey softening my heart to Love.
Two years after that phone call the loss I was protecting myself from became a painful reality. My softened heart no longer protected I was able to reach out and to feel the greatest love of all.
Gods Love.

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Psalm 16:5 Good News Translation (GNT)
You, Lord, are all I have,
 and you give me all I need;
 my future is in your hands.

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

Reimagine

Day Thirty six – Reimagine  – lent challenge

I work in a barn, its an old cow milking shed that has been basically converted into small units. When you think of barn conversations you might imagine beautiful houses incorporating features from the barn but alongside modern comforts.
Our barn is basic, we have cold running water, a small area to make a cup of tea, heating is extra clothes a small fan heater and hot water bottles. I often imagine the changes we could make to improve our little place of work, heat and hot water would be first on my list, maybe followed by carpet and a connecting door so I don’t have to walk outside in the cold.
Once imagined I reimagined that I could get an office, painted in business colours, a beautifully designed packing area with boxes stacked high, orders arriving and being packed by staff. I imagine a business looking smart and branded, clean slick painted. Maybe a kitchen with a  fridge full of healthy snack’s and we could hold business meetings in comfort instead of issuing weather warnings, and requesting visitors to come dressed warm and offer hot water bottles to those brave enough to stay.
We would look good on the outside but what would in the heart of the business? Would we lose what we are about by working like this?
The way we work provides us with an income to live within our means, it’s basic but keeps us connected to the world, I look forward to spring, look forward to feeing the warmth of the sun. I remember the excitement when we brought a fridge, we celebrated it was a big day, I still smile when I open the door to get a pint of milk.
To reimagine has to be for the good and not out of greed or wants, we need to put our creative minds to helping others, helping others see what a life following Jesus is like.
Jesus was born in a barn – God could have worked it out that a room would be available, but God chose for His Son to be born in a barn. Jesus came into this world humbly and in poverty to identify with the poorest and weakest among us.
I might not always like my barn, but it’s a constant reminder that we need to be thankful for everything we have, from a fridge to running water, their are many in the world that have nothing our barn keeps us dry and provides us with a place to work.

Romans 12:3 The Message (MSG)
3 I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

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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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