Really?

I started a blog post with this quote below, wrote for nearly half an hour then some how it all vanished. The fascinating bit was that it was all about asking God to give us tasks too hard for us to cope with so that we come back to Him! Hummm!! But now I will fill my post full of Eleanor Roosevelt quotes 🙂

Eleanor Roosevelt

“Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life. Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far-off goals. Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength. Deliver us from fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world. Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness men hide from us because we do not try to understand them. Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of a world made new.”

So I will still post the quote and try to remember some of what I wrote. I don’t know about other bloggers but once I’ve written it is like its gone from my brain!

It was to do with being challenged about our move to Wales and being asked if either I was running away from the pain of the last 3+ years and then also I was “truly healed” to  be able to go,  and me feeling like I would never be truly healed but that that was ok. That I want to be up for leaning on God not on being totally healed.

We are not going to open this house to others so that they come and give us what we want to get healed. We want to open our home to others so that through our experiences and our scars we can show others that life isn’t hopeless. It’s not even to heal but to encourage, to give hope, vision and purpose. It’s about learning to live with the scars of life not to feel sorry for ourselves but to show we can keep going, can still not just dream dreams but make them happen, to show that there is life beyond.

To quote Richard Rohr:

The huge surprise of the Christian revelation is that the place of the wound is the place of the greatest gift. Our code phrase for this whole process is “cross and resurrection,” revealing that our very wounds can become sacred wounds, if we let them.

And this is the thing, we want to let our scars become sacred wounds that God can use to bring something to the rest of the world. Ok so maybe not the rest of the world but those people He will bring across our path. And not for us to heal them because the task is to big for us, and we have learned that, but for Him to do as He wills with each one of them.

So we take our scars, our far off goals, our restlessness and we let God have it all as we continue on this journey – not just to Wales but to all that He has for us. We are not healed, a long way from it, but we moved into a deeper relationship with God not based on what we do or what He does but on who we are and who He is.

Back To The Future Day

I wasn’t going to write because I’ve got too much to do and also I’m not feeling great but felt compelled to. As the quote says “Back to the Future will now take part entirely in the the past”. I saw all 3 of the Back to The Future films in the cinema and then on TV. Never sure why I liked them but ..

And as Sally Ann says today 21st October is significant in the use of the number 21 – the coming of age number – and I quote:

To me 21 denotes a breakthrough and the number of maturity when young people historically got ‘the key of the door’… Daniel in the Old Testament fasted for 3 weeks – 3×7=21 – and an angel appeared to him at the end of that time: now that’s what I call a breakthrough!

So today, the 21st day of October we got breakthrough – in that we sold our house, offer totally accepted, and had the offer of our new house accepted – and it feels a bit like maturity – because now we step out into the unknown but as grown ups. We are breaking ties, gaining something that is ours totally (as in this house will be in joint names whereas the house we are in now is just in my husband’s name). And also it was 3 weeks today that, after getting back from Wales, our estate agent came round and put this house on the market. Another of those 21 days! And also from now on we start writing our future, a future that is ours, that is different, that we cannot predict at all.

Something interesting too – often when I can’t get to sleep I daydream about having a room of my own that I can decorate and also being close to the sea. Now it doesn’t help me to go to sleep because the dream is becoming a reality. Our future is standing like a blank page waiting to be written. You know it feels like it did just before we got married – that tumbling excitement of stepping into the unknown with the one you love 🙂

So what’s the Vision? What’s the big idea?

‘ve stolen this line from the poem “The Vision” but I think it sums up what we’re up to. Ours is not some big website ministry. The Vision Ian and I have is a little one; a front line out of sight living life vision. As my friend John Bell would say “We’re doing Life” – with a capital L.

So what is the Vision? The Vision isn’t Wales – though God has led us there through our love of the country, our love of beach, mountains, walking, and the people of Wales – and when we are there we will be praying for the land we’ll be standing on, and interacting with the people. But the location is almost incidental without that sounding disrespectful to the country that is accepting us. No the Vision is also the house and the space in the house’ the space for us to grow to be more like God intended us to be and to help and support other people to grow into their God given destiny. So what it is is

the front garden

the space. We asked for 6 bedrooms, 2 living rooms and a big communal space. What are these spaces for? This is the important part of the Vision.  We can “see” a space to have a lodger living full time with us as part of our family, with the whole giving and receiving that comes with family. Plus we want to be able to do the Airbnb thing more; having holiday makers, travellers and business people pass through our home. This is something we have enjoyed doing already but have found our little house a bit too cramped. We have been able to host Chinese, Londoners. Polish, Brummies, Australians, Americans, Lithuanians, Bulgarians, French, Italians, Indians, others from across the UK, some who have been working in the area, some who are holidaying, some who are on long term travelling, some who need to talk and eat with us, some who want some space. All of which has taken some discerning. We like doing it via Airbnb because then we can be a spare room in a family home rather than having to comply to all the regulations that come with official Bed and breakfasting.

So that is 2 bedrooms with functions. We also feel like we would love to have our own separate spaces. We were both single for a long time and it has been a challenge to get use to living and sharing our space, but we have done well and are enjoying it, but it is like to expand as who we are we could do with “a room of my own”. For me it will be to write, to be able to leave my writings out and not have to tidy up, to be able to have books piled about so I can pick up when I want, and for room to study, though as to what the study and where it will go I do not know. For Ian it will be a place to explore, to work from home and also to not have to tidy away because this house now is too small for us both to leave things out.

Two more bedrooms with functions. Then of course we will have our bedroom and that leaves one more bedroom. This will be for our children and for our friends; a place where those we already know can come and be with us, can enjoy what we have got, can walk on the beach, can be revived and refreshed.

The reason for the space downstairs? We believe there was need for a communal space where every one could draw

the kitchen/diner viewed from standing in the kitchen

together. Plus a living room for us to relax in and another living area that was just for us as a family so we could withdraw when need be.  This house we hope to get has a kitchen/diner with one end a lovely square cooking space, with breakfast bar, that then reaches into a space for a reasonable size table (6-8 places) and room for a couch too. The reason for 2 living rooms is, much as we want to share our lives, we also want space to withdraw. We also found with the Airbnb guests there were times when one of our children needed just us but there was no place to withdraw and just chill out. So the front living room will be our family space alone and then the other one will be for sharing. There will be times when we have a lot of guests and the functions of the rooms will have to change but that’s ok. This is very much God’s house and He will have His way. We hope that it will be filled with love, laughter, prayers and tears. We’ve done too much of life to know that tears are very much a part of real life and that is what we want this place to be.

So this is The Vision. This is the Big Idea. As Habakkuk 2:2 says “write the vision plainly so the runners can run with it/so that it can be read on the move”. Here is our vision written plainly so we can keep moving ever closer to it. Unless it is written clearly it is easy to settle for second best. In fact when we were house hunting we so knew that God wanted us in this area that we almost settled for a house that did not have what the Vision called for. It is so easy to  miss out when it isn’t written down.

It is also like God has given us this house vision and then the desire for the area but also kept us in mind to our needs. Things like the need for a large attic because we do still carry a lot of our children’s belongings, which gives them freedom to travel and explore the world unhindered, but also we have things that we would like to keep too, as well as Ian have all his outdoor stuff which will be so important to him when we are so much closer to “the big outdoors”.

Sometimes I think we get afraid to write it large and write it bold and stick to it. I know we have which is why it took us so long to get here. But we cannnot look back on shoulds and oughts but only keep on going forward, ever growing.

Trust! God!

We’re on the move

We are on the move, my husband and I. Some people have advised caution, said “don’t move too fast” but in fact this has all been a long time coming. Nearly nine years in fact! We have got close and then things have changed but we have held in there, often without knowing it.

So on our honeymoon my husband had this big download from God about our home being a place of safety for others. He got words and pictures and all sorts. So we pottered on letting this happen around us, for my children, for people God dropped into our lives along the way. We got hurt and confused at times by what it was all about. We had people that we had spent time with moving on to other things and not even speaking to us. In hindsight we have realised that this is what the “vision” had all been about but wasn’t easy. Then came the big crash three and a half years ago when people we had been praying for took their own lives, either deliberately or by accident. That shatters one’s trust in the vision and in God. We had been told we were a safe place and those we’d been praying for and who had come under our roof took choices that led to their lives being cut short. Where did the vision go then? Buried!!

Though not quite. It simmered away. We both kept niggling at it without realising but we had lost our trust in God to do His bit. We never walked away from Him. Like Peter said when Jesus asked him if he was going to leave as others were doing, it was “where else can we go?” But there had been a shift in the relationship. I believe we spent the last two years rebuilding our trust in God, because it has only been just over two years since my father-in-law died. Someone else we’d been praying for and hoping to become well again.

So the Vision was written large nearly nine years ago. We wanted to run with it but weren’t able to – to being with because of our own lack of experience and also lack of space, but then because of things beyond our control unsettling us. We needed to grieve. We needed to regroup. We needed time. We needed to be bold enough to look at the Vision. Interestingly we didn’t do anything deliberate to bring it back to the surface. It all happened in an roundabout sort of way. So yes it would be possible to say that we are moving quickly but in fact we’re not.

And we are still trying to learn to trust. It’s odd but I can see it when we wait for someone to buy our house. It isn’t happening fast enough which at one time I would have said was a great way for us to learn patience but now I’m struggling because that trust that God can and will has slide. But actually it makes us rounder people, I believe, more able to support those who’ve been hurt because we’ve been there too. But trust is such a hard thing to regain.

And as I think of regaining trust in God I think of people in my life, not just those who’ve died but those who are still alive, who’ve hurt me, broken my trust. In all cases it is hard to trust again, but God seems to have led us to a place where we are having to trust Him to sell our house and led us to our “Promised land!” 🙂

Interpretation

Will either of them say????

How often have we all been heard to say “but you said …” and the response to be “No I said …”? Each of us when we speak speak through our own interpretation of what we mean and each of us listens through our own interpretation of what we mean. Very rarely to we slow things down enough to say “I heard … Did you mean that? If not could you explain what you meant,” which is very rarely responded to by the other person saying “Actually that wasn’t what I meant. I meant … Please could you now tell me what you’ve heard,” all said in low calm voices. In most marriage courses and counselling course one is told to speak like that; to say what one thinks one had heard and then for each person to keep going back and forth till each person fully understands the other. Why does this not happen? I think because we are all in too much of a hurry to get our point over and to hear our own voices.

But also it can be interesting too. Recently someone posted a blog post in which they talked of a conversation we had had together and how much it had helped, or at least that’s how I read it, him to move on with some major changes. Now I had told this conversation to my husband only a day or so after it had happened. He also read the blog post. His comment was “this doesn’t sound like the same conversation.” Who is right? Who is wrong? Neither of us. Both of us heard our conversation with our own interpretations and also remembered the bits we liked the best.

My husband and I are in the process of a major life change ourselves and a friend of ours prayed about it and got a “word from God”. (Something with many interpretations there!) It meant a lot to us because we had had similar images in a “picture/word” we’d had when we first got married. Anyway what he shared he also interpreted. My husband and I both nodded and said “thank you” and left it at that. Later when we went to bed both of us said that we thought the picture meant something different to what our friend had interpreted. He was interpreting through his mind’s lens, we were interpreting though our mind’s lens. Why didn’t we tell him? Actually there I’m not sure. For me it can be just that I need a bit of time to chew it over.

In fact with this life change others have felt they could speak into our situation, and very often have totally misinterpreted what we are on about. Why? Probably for the same reason we all do; they hear a word that they can picture and so stay with that word and don’t hear any more. They then tell us what they think about that word they have captured and that makes sense to them. We then hear only bits of what they are saying too, so we interpret in our own way. Neither of us is right or wrong but actually we are both too busy to slow the conversation down and say “do you really mean …?” or to say “What I heard you say was …? Is that right?” I think we often don’t want to be thought of as wrong or not caring so we either don’t say someone has missed the point we wanted to make or we don’t want to say we don’t fully understand what they are saying. My husband says often him and I argue on something we are agreeing on and when we slow the conversation down we are saying the same thing.

All this can be fine until it escalates. People then fall out, fight, take sides, kill each other. Things like the Bible and other religious books really are only interpretations and yet I cannot think of one of the major world religions where there aren’t factions that disagree with each other. What is it they disagree on? Interpretation!!

whether you believe in God or not, this is a great way to live

I have often wondered why God didn’t come up with some clearer easier way to help people understand, but then I think that God didn’t because then it would put the whole deity and big answers to the world into easy to manage boxes, and though that would stop people fighting and killing each other, it would also stop them from exploring and finding. So whether you believe in a God/Higher Deity/Nothing that is down to your own, and my own interpretation, of what we observe around us and how we take on board what we take on board. So for me this means that I am kinder to those who misinterpret me and so I will try to slow down what I say and ask more questions when communicating with others, but also know that there will also be times when we make mistakes and misinterpret. Then FORGIVE. I think that is the only way until we, and I include me in this, can be bold enough to slow things down a lot 🙂