Where do you go to my lovely?

In early 2012 I wrote this in a FB message to someone. Am reading it tonight wondering where that wise person went to. How have I lost so much in so little time? Where the freak have I gone? It was all so clear back then…

Seperate out all the different functions of the job (call it a job not a calling for now!)

Admin, visiting, going to the sick, shepherding, giving sermons, bible studies, encouraging admonishing, managing and all the other bits I know nothing about. 

Seperate out all the different people you are or could be – minister (80 hours approx of a job probably more), mother to the gorgeous wee one (who will get bigger and less dependent but will always want you) Wife/ life partner/ soulmate (reading between the lines on all you write, you rely on your husband a lot, to give you that boost when you need it, to bolster your ego – this is not meant to be as harsh as it is reading), child of God (evangelising, loving and going, praying, praising, worshiping, encouraging, sharing, gathering)

Of all the seperated out things – what are you confident in? What freaks you out? The one on ones, the public speaking, the everyone expecting you to know the right thing to say and do.

Do a personality test and check how introvert you are. Some websites give the healthy and unhealthy versions of types. Look at the careers.

For a while in my life I worked in a hospital and put on a uniform – people expect things from that uniform, a knowledge, ability, professionalism, that you don’t get without it. In return there is a respect, that is automatically given, assumptions are made but mostly in a good way. The collar is the same. 

The collar is a point of respect, or conversation at the very least. For your flock there is an automatic assumption  that you know what you are doing WHEREAS – this stint of covering – they all knew who you were, they knew you on your good days and your bad days, there are probably people in your congregation that don’t like you. (that is not your problem that is your problem) You have to work out a way to reach them without “whateva” getting in the way.

So if you were pastor of that lot (or any lot) wouldn’t you want to cry. Offense at every turn. Will it be any different at another parish – NO. Because we are all human, we are all fallen, we are sinners and we mess up.

As a pastor – you will mess up, you will get it wrong, you will cross lines, you are human.

You are eight years younger than me so you have more time to decide than I do.

… whilst Kat is still preschool, the three of you take off somewhere. Do the point of pain, down and dirty thing – see where you feel you   fit then.

I got freaked out by   my “call” – I haven’t told anyone here, and don’t know whether to stay in a state of disobedience or not.

Blessings to you and yours whateva you decide, prays lots and then pray some more, don’t try to do it in your own strength

Contemplating Prayer…

He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

2 Timothy 1:9 NIVUK

I have, in the last week, been spending more time with the verse of the day: a randomly generated bible verse somewhere on this planet delivered to me sometimes in my inbox and sometimes as the first window I open on my laptop.

It became a habit before to just glance, smile wryly and then get on with my life. So I changed and thus far the change has continued. Let me explain – last night I put the shout out at VB that to only pray without something else, without music, or the drone of an engine, or a scripture reading I found really difficult. Praying with another person was important, in fact vital for growth – I can get that, but that involves listening to another human and God.

Praying in my everyday as I drive, scrub floors, cook – I get that, I do that.

BUT

Praying on its own. Doing nothing else but pray. I commune with God in the noise of life. Is it possible to get to a deeper conversation than one heart speaking to another?

I read today’s scripture and I realise it is not about being disciplined – although that is a by-product, it is about relationship. When I was a child as soon as I received a gift I had to write a thank you letter, as time went on this became a phone call, then an email, then a text {if I remember}

And maybe I had relegated prayer too, from those times of utter anguish writhing on the floor in despair when all I did all day was pray to this piecemeal whenever I think of it…

When I got home from the school run I turned off the engine and at first I was enjoying Lorelei not know what was happening – in her mind van has stopped so mum should get out…

BUT

I didn’t

I sat at first in silence

And then in bolder language

And I prayed

I prayed for something that was resolved last night, I prayed that I don’t react in the same way the next time, I prayed for healing for that person specifically and a whole bunch of people who needed prayer for sickness and other stuff.

I prayed for my people.

I prayed and in praying {obediently with discipline} I realised how long it had been since I had just been, doing nothing except prayer. Even now as I write, I have UCB on, I reading through something to be delivered later, drinking a cup of tea.

So yes, I was convicted today

God does not want a piece of me when I can fit him in. He wants all of me, all the time, yes in that constant stream of conversation that happens when you know someone really well. But also making that space, that time, “the letter writing time” to listen and talk intentionally about other people.

I have an amazing Heavenly Father, who wants the very best for me and it is in His want and my need that we meet. I don’t know what the Christian language is for this – but I have got my mojo back. My confidence is back with a bang and I will not listen to those “containing” words of others. He has made me this way for a purpose and it is His purpose for which I live.

Each day in the VB process I have learned something new about my relationship with the Lord, I have changed a little and reset perspective over and over. I love these changes, I love that slowly he is making me more and more fit for purpose. I pray that I never let the pomposity of “Temple” enter into my reality, I pray that He continues to grow me, continues to use me, continues to be in communion with me. I LOVE MY GOD.

washing-scaled1000

Week one of VB

Bible Talking

Reflection on Tuesday 24th for VB

I had heard that story of the one who opening the Bible got a word and didn’t like to so tried again and again till they eventually got it.

Well this is how my day started:

Bible Gateway verse of the day – Proverbs 14:22

Those who plot evil shall wander away and be lost, but those who plan good shall be granted mercy and quietness.

In my head I am thinking  – PLAN…PLAN…PLAN

How do I PLAN good?

I have no PLAN anymore

Later in the day I was listening to the pastor’s sermon as I helped on Sunday school and missed it but listening discovered I had heard it before almost word for word except for the sections added in. He quoted from Psalm 46 particularly

verse 10 – “Stand silent! Know that I am God! I will be honoured by every nation in the world!”

although as I was reading through the Psalm whilst listening verse 1-3 was particularly poignant

God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. And so we need not fear even if the world blows up and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam; let the mountains tremble!

Because here I was sitting still with no PLAN left and believe it or not there was a storm raging outside with thunder, lightning, hail, sleet and snow. I felt like I was in the eye of the physical storm whilst emotional and spiritually I was being still whilst the waves tried to knock me over. I am empty, spent and I have no PLAN.

Whilst trying to sermonise I was heavily distracted so got on with my on-going project of illustrations and commentaries from various sources for all the books in the Bible for my friends. I was again in Psalms

‘Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you’ PSALM 55:22

Yes Mr or Ms Psalm writer I have done, burdens cast at the foot of the Cross, check. I am being sustained and I in my steadfastness am being strengthened – for what purpose have you brought me thus far… I have no PLAN

And then the very next verse I saw was:

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him,

Do not fret when men succeed in their ways…

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath

Do not fret – it leads only to evil.

Psalm 37 7a, 8

I may have no PLAN, I don’t; I am sat here PLANLESS,

But I can be still in the presence of the LORD

I can also wait patiently for him to tell me what to do next.

What has been offered doesn’t sit right with me for various reasons –

  • Leaving the denomination I know and love
  • s/t mission with DC, again outside denomination and outside Ireland

So the S/T hurt is gone, the looking after everyone else and how they feel about the situation is done, the realisation of some slightly skewed thinking is dealt with and I was then left on shifting sands:

Not my faith – that is as sure as ever, I had a cute thing come through from gmail where they analysed the mail I sent and formed a word cloud, bearing in mind every email has my signature on it, my name was so small in comparison to God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the other bigger words in no particular order were Bible, read, up, new, people, today, free, word, out, more. I think I can make a sermon out of that!

The shifting sands are to do with where I am at. Two years ago I started work experience because I had none, of the sink or swim variety and most of the time I think I swam-ish. It is really weird now cos I look back and think I didn’t do much but then my confidence left in December and has yet to return. So I am sure I did swim a bit. But I started it with a goal in mind and now the goal posts have shifted and I don’t know what they look like anymore and I don’t know who to ask.

Friends are being really sweet even those who have an inkling as to what this feels like but I can’t talk to them. I can’t talk to anyone without crying a river and that is pointless. I got a text yesterday that said “Hide your light under a bushel NO!!!!” and I balled.

I have no PLAN

I am waiting

I am waiting patiently

I am waiting patiently for a revelation as to what is His PLAN for me next

I am comfortable with all the waiting but..

I don’t belong anywhere and I am bereft about that and alone.

There are those who think I belong with them, but I don’t.

I didn’t belong in the other place either.

I actually feel more humanly alone today than I did in that long time ago place where everyone belonged except me.

O Lord

Thank you for your loving arms that stretch around me and envelop me in your love. I lift my arms up to you and you lift me and hold me in a close embrace. Thank you for everything. Amen

Reflection for Wednesday 25th for VB

As soon as I decided to fast I got hungry. I think about this, maybe this is something I need to work on. It is normal to be hungry, it is abnormal to not be hungry all day.

I was cooking today for the Alpha meeting that was to cover the Holy Spirit weekend talks. I was thinking how we squish and squash the Holy Spirit into a compartment and only let him work in us on our terms. Not just about our group squishing a weekend into a few hours but trying to squish him into a weekend.

Later at the meeting one of the guys tried to explain to the group dead serious about tongues, “and this is how you do it” etc. and I’m like listening and thinking poor Spirit being contained again. Being free in the Spirit is about life and excitement and adventure in the ordinary every day.

A life of surprises. I am still waiting for the PLAN but there is a whole lot of living to be done whilst I wait.

Heavenly Father,

Oh I thank you so much for sending your son Jesus to save me and give me this new incredible life, a life of abundance, a life of more. Thank you so much for leaving the Holy Spirit here on earth to enter into my life and change me, transform me so people don’t recognise me I am so different. O Lord you are an amazing astonishing wonderful God and I am proud in one thing only, to be called your daughter. Amen

Reflection for Thursday 26th for VB

I found joy in the most miserable of things today. How amazing is that! Smudge is suicidal, or has suicidal thoughts – that’s misery right there. That is a desperate place to be. I have been there, I know what it smells like, it is damp and squalid, slimy and dark, so very, very dark.

First joy is knowing that place has gone from my life, I might feel alone but I know I am not, I might feel like no one on the planet is feeling like I was a couple of days ago, but I know other people thought they were on one plan and it just went away. So I know that I can easily reach out and find those people. I could ask for pastoral care, not sure who would do it seeing as it is my job but I could flag it up. But two days of being held so close by the Lord, I know there is a PLAN, I just don’t know what it is yet.

Second joy, because the plan is gone I can try to support Smudge, it isn’t easy, it will take a lot of time but God knew I was needed here, so here I am.

And third, Smudge has no plan of how to do it, he can’t tie a knot, he can’t drive, there is no water around. So only tablets and knives, he has a sickly tummy so more than likely he would puke the tablets and he isn’t fond of pain. This isn’t to belittle his thoughts. He has the thoughts. But he has no plan. I love how plan is the theme throughout this week. Tomorrow he goes to the GP and we will take it from there. If the Airy one was in this position, it would be different, he is successful in all things so I would be so watchful of him.

But Airy is on a different plane to suicidal thoughts thankfully. And Smudge, he will get treatment and he will survive this season of despair. I tell him of Job, he says that is not helpful. Finally as I look forward to receiving my PLAN, I am reminded of my mate who when I told her much later about my thoughts she said “ooh Suzie I am so glad you didn’t try because surely you would have succeeded” and I am ever thank full that though I am going through a bit of a storm at present, it will pass.

Friday 27th Reflection for VB

Help came out of the woodwork today. I was ordered (in the nicest possible way) to attend to something. I was thinking of TJ Schellman and how she would know exactly what to say to me and J rang. J wants me to tutor her through a course. J and TJ are chalk and cheese and yet I felt J was delivering the same message TJ would have said just in a different way.

There is so much I could do, and yet, feel compelled to just sit silently and wait. The fasting stopped on Wednesday, it was distracting me from a closer walk with the Lord and I began an “eat” instead. As I prepared the meal today whilst praying silent prayers, peace once more descended. I could hear my soul heart beat slowly and loudly in tune with the Lord’s heart. Heart to heart conversation. It takes on a whole new meaning when you consider one of the hearts is eternal and divine.

What an amazing God we have, what an amazing God I have.

Saturday 28th Reflection for VB

Oh had a blast of a day, met a bunch of people in another town, got a speaking gig out of it and I knew immediately what I would be talking about “Freedom in Failure”

You see He does have a plan, I can talk about failure and people may come to understand their own in relation to their everyday. The fact that we don’t try because we might fail. The fact that we are loaded from childhood by a need to succeed and avoidance of failure. But failure is sweet, it is us learning to walk, it is us learning to speak, learning to engage, learning, learning, learning. God is full of surprises.

Sunday 1st Reflection for VB

I was preaching today and I felt so free, free in my style, free in the words, free in the message. It was not a light fluffy talk, it was meaty and challenging but I felt free to deliver his word.

Technology had stressed me out this week, unable to engage thoroughly with the VB, all my own personal studies on hold. But God gave me freedom this week. I still don’t have the big picture PLAN, but I have a piece or two of the jigsaw and I will continue on this awesome journey.

Next week is reflecting on scripture and I hope Eircom will fix the landline so I can engage thoroughly but if I have to continue this way sobeit.

Heavenly Father,

I began last week PLANLESS and to a certain extent I still am, but you Lord, you are full of surprises, you are in my life and you are here to stay. Your love is not going anywhere, Your love is sustaining me, strengthening me, enveloping me. Thank you for that love, thank you for your patience with me, thank you for your peace. I love you so much but in comparison to your love for me it is particles of sand on a beach, yours  is the whole ocean and more beside. O Lord this next week, I want to walk closer with you, help me Lord in my walk with you. And I pray for all the other VB members, you know the story, Amen