Wednesday, 23 May 2012


On Sunday night we had a Local Preachers accreditation service, and I’ll come back to why this is my second favourite service of the Methodist calendar (after Covenant) later. Therefore it was a Circuit service at a chapel, there was lots of very good cake which meant standing around and talking to people, which I also love! But I had the same conversation about 15 times. Almost all of which ended ‘well it’s good you are getting interviews.’ Now I don’t want to knock it as I love being part of such a caring community but by the end I needed a t-shirt printing with my tour dates on the back, and maybe a PS of – 'I’m shattered!'

This led to a discussion with someone about getting a t-shirt and all the front needed to say was ‘not yet’ and this started me thinking, how would I describe my life right now. Back in Feb at the well retreat I’d labelled the current phrase as the ‘Pizza Hut Years’ (though boyfriend has only worked there six months.) 'Not yet' sums up my life rather well. It works for most questions I get asked at the moment, and actually while I’m job hunting people have stopped asking the engagement question – well mostly anyway.

There are times in life when wait feels like the right answer and times when it's really annoying. I believe God answers all prayer, sometimes it’s yes, sometimes it’s no and sometimes it’s not yet, wait. I guess you could link this to traffic lights, red=no, amber= wait, and green = yes. There are some traffic lights near the local university that the amber light has gone, makes you realise how important the wait part is. My call to Local Preaching was like that. I think it was May 3 years ago that I first felt called to train to be a local preacher. My calling is very much linked to another preacher and friend. It was watching her preach that I knew that I could do that, but was certain that it wasn’t yet. It was only 9 months later at her Accreditation service that I felt that now was the time – my first thought being ‘drat God!’

As with everything else in the world at the moment, I’ll use a sports analogy. I feel like I’m waiting round at the start of the race, maybe being told to be on my marks. But there’s no way I’m getting set just yet. I think when I do know where I’m going next then I’ll feel more like I’m not waiting, and then I have a feeling my last 2 and a bit months (or whatever when I’m at that point) will fly by.
I’m happy to wait on God, knowing that it’s in the gaps that God prepares us for what is next. As I said in my No post, there were times when turning down things is right, ready for the next yes.

So I’m on my marks, I don’t know where I’m going, or even how long the race is, but I’m ready and waiting. And as it is said it's not the destination it’s the journey.

So over to you! I’d love to know if you were to describe your life right now what phrase you would use.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

more coats and shoes - dressed for life

I started this blog on Thursday and was just going to write about it being Christian Aid week, but got distracted from blogging by Question Time Bingo, which was very fun and so have returned to it today and want to bring something of this morning's service in too.

This week has been very busy! Not as busy as it was meant to be as I missed Youth Work Summit yesterday as I needed a day to rest and stop being so ill – I’m a pathetic ill person but don’t worry I’m not going to blog about that again.

I drove over 500 miles in just over 24 hours Tuesday / Wednesday.

Did more job hunting stuff

Did my job – though that did mean I bumped into my favourite 2 year old for a kiss and a cuddle.

And did my Christian Aid week delivering and collecting.

Last year was the first time I'd been a collector for this brill charity, and I was really looking forward to it, getting to meet my neighbours. This year was just as fun, people knew when I knocked on their door what I was after which made things easier and only had one person challenge me on what Christian Aid do with the money – his plan was to (please excuse my English) “shoot the bloody dictators” to ensure the money got to the people who needed it.

I don’t have a tv in my bedroom. For this reason cos I’ve been feeling a bit ill and grumpy I’ve spent a lot of time this week in bed rather than in my living room, and therefore I’ve been listening to music rather than watching tv in the background. One of my favourite singers at the moment is Paul Bell and I have 2 of his cds – yeah I’m rather old school when it comes to music. One song that I’ve been reflecting on and I thought of during today’s service is ‘Same Planet, Different World’ I encourage you to listen to it here. Its like the #middleclasswoes on twitter.

Sometimes life feels like it’s just a bit much. We all go through different things, how can I really complain when there are people starving in Africa, or being burnt in acid baths for being witches.

The service today went on to talk about shoes. Someone before the service commented to their neighbour that someone had left their shoes in the middle of the front, something similar happened to me when I’d hung 3 coats on the pulpit, it all became clear later. In job hunting many people have come out with Christian Clichés about doors and in God’s time, and I thank you for trying, but I don’t need your pretty clichés (posh, pretty shoes that are not good when the going gets tough) – I need your time, and support and hugs (practical trainers). On my notice board I have a postcard that someone gave me a couple of years ago and they didn’t write anything but drew a heart and their name, and that means more to me. I was prophesied over at Soul Survior last summer and one of the people said they saw a picture of coats and how we have different coats for different times and seasons, ones that fit us and the situation we are in at that time. I know I'm in a time where I'm working out which coat I need next.

The line repeated by one preacher today (we had a rather ace double act and it was so great for lay and ordained people working together in harmony) was from the John 17 passage – Jesus prays ‘I am not asking you to take them out of the world but to protect them.’

That's what I needed to hear today. Being a Christian isn’t about being wrapped up in bubble wrap, but about running the race, going for it. The example used was that of an egg and spoon race around the church, with people helping out by opening doors. God gives us the people to help out along the way.

My final thought ish – and I am about to stop promise cos I’ve just got onto page 2 of my word file, comes from Adrian Plass, he was given the phrase ‘Nothing is wasted.’ God uses everything we go through, the rubbish he turns into manure so we can grow further and better. He said he had to pass it on as he isn’t given anything from God for him to keep – now that is wisdom.

I’ve also recently been reflecting on the Covenant prayer a lot recently. In January when I said it everything I was doing was for God, working, looking after a homeless friend, local preaching. And now I’m job hunting, with the possibility of being jobless and having to move back in with my parents. And yeah it does worry me, but I don’t want a get me out of here card, I know that God will protect me, and use what happens to me, to further the work He does in me.

So again I pray the prayer of covenant.

‘I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.'

Saturday, 12 May 2012

All Change

Before we begin, I'm not going to say sorry, but I am going to warn you
a, my proof reader is away
b, this is long and rambley
c, it makes sense to me, and its my blog and I'm in control here, but if it doesn't for you hopefully normality will be returned on the next blog.

Life often seems to go in waves.
Let me give you an example, in the last few years I've known many church people who were turning 40, then this year my friends who are still in their 30s seem to all have been married 10 years - well 3 couples at least.
Or in youth work, you may have a group of 11 year olds join the youth club and you work with them for 5 years and in that time get some kids who are 2 or 3 years younger, but not one year younger.
Live goes in waves.

Last time I remember feeling like everything was changing and I was out of control of it was at the about October 2010 - I know the timing as I remember sitting in a certain bedroom. 2010 I had 5 addresses, at work we were going through the starts of the changes to form the new circuit that now exists. So I was moving house a lot, and changing line manager, and generally feeling a bit out of control of everything.

Now I think for me this is the thing. Change can be exciting, for example I was instrumental in the end of MYE and the formation of the DYEs. That was exciting change, those of you who knew me in 2007/2008 will know the YPS steering group was my main passion. Though I know it also stressed me out a lot. (I apologise for the Methodist jargon and whichever ground rule that was!)

My issue isn't change, it's control. I am a control freak.

I may have said this before but when I'm feeling out of control I like to go for a drive, it calms me down as I know at that time I'm in control of my car, speed, direction etc. and linking back to one of the MWiB blogs I did, getting lost by myself is less stressful than getting lost of the Sat Nav and me disagreed as then I'm not in control.

Anyway back to present day. I'm yet again at a place where everything is changing. There have been a few announcements in the past week about people moving on, and I know that if I find a job I could be the other end of the country or even in Wales.
Just feels like at the moment the wave is all about change.
The CD in my car currently is Andy Flannagan and my fave song on this cd has the line - 'we are changed to be the change you promise'

My aims for 2012 were meant to change me, make me healthier, fairer, and more talented. But again they were changes I wanted to make.

I know sometimes I can't be in control and hopefully God is - depending on the interviewers understanding of God's will.
We don't go through this alone, and we don't go through it without reason. Today I challenged young people to change their communities, their prayers for the world covered most of the map and I am constantly amazed at young people's commitment to prayer and to action.
We watched a clip from Evan Almighty where he is talking to God (Morgan Freeman!!) and God laughs at his plans. Makes me think that as much as I want to be in control, that God needs to be ultimately in charge, maybe that's why everything feels so change-y, cos I need to let go of control. There's kinda a boat at see image in my head and I need to stop trying to steer in a storm and give God control.

I guess what worries me is I feel stressed when I'm not in control and someone else is - maybe that's why I get travel sick (hmm, sorry random tangent will think about that elsewhere). Maybe my prayer needs to be for God's peace to take hold. For God to calm the storm in my worries as well as the storm of change - or at least guide me safely through.

And peace brings me on to Boyfriend...

Boyfriend has had a ... day (I don't know what the word is as I don't think he knows yet really). Its hard to see someone you love, who is so far away, and you can't talk to go through something that looks difficult. But I know its life changing, and he's being changed to be the change God promises. I just prayer that as he sleeps tonight he will be rested for the rest of the week, be refreshed fro the next day and be transformed further so God can use him to be the change in this World

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Blue rinse and an afternoon playing dominoes

I realise a lot of my blog has been me working out what I like, or maybe more of who I am.

This morning I went to get my hair dyed and cut, it was very relaxing. I then did a quick supermarket shop - just for some things I'd run out of - like crisps and apples.
After lunch I went to the local over 60s club - where I got to play dominoes for well over an hour.
So I've had an old person day.

Yesterday afternoon I was going to blog about how doing things face to face is better than via technology, as I was going off to try and buy a present for my favourite almost 2 year old and a new cable for my sat nav from shops in the local city (yes the irony of that has only just hit me). However the shops I went to didn't have what I needed and then ended up at home buying the latter item on ebay.

I generally prefer to buy things in a shop, you know what you are getting, particularly with technology. But technology is creeping in more and more, I use self-scan cos its often quicker, and I love Oxfam online for clothes - particularly dresses.

Having said that a simple Skype call has made my day. Boyfriend is in the Holy Land this week - you can read his blog here.