Missing the Familiar

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similar thing

Whilst not having any internet last week I did some therapeutic writing about what I was missing having moved. From it came not that I was missing anything major but that I was missing the trivial and the familiar. I was missing knowing the names of dogs when I was out walking, knowing where to buy certain things, being able to recognise someone from a distance by the way they walked or what they were wearing. I missed knowing where to buy the things to make up my home-made muesli, or where to get an organic veg box, where to get biodegradable dog poo bags, and even where to buy a hat stand. All these things I would have known where to go and what to get but here its all new. I did also miss not having the car just outside. At the moment as it is our only car Ian is taking it to work as he finds that less stressful than going by public transport, and it’s an easy drive whereas the public transport is harder. Mind you not that I would have gone anywhere in the car because I didn’t know where to go, where to park once I got there and all that sort of stuff.

Since writing the piece my daughter came to visit, which made me happy as I hadn’t seen

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this is the butchers 🙂 

her since 1st January. Then we got the internet and so I’ve been able to google and get an organic veg box delivered, find that we have health food shop in Abergele which I have just visited. It isn’t as extensive as the one where I was but I’m sure I can make it mine after a while, but it did have the basics I needed. I went to my butcher, who I have been cultivating since arriving, and as well as being able to get the chicken wings for the dog he also had rabbit. Now I can’t remember how much is was in the local farm shop near where we were but I know it wasn’t cheap. Here it was £5 a pound and the butcher could tell me who’d shot it too if I wanted to know. The familiar is coming together.

Also this morning I got coerced  into going to a prayer meeting for my lovely Interweave friend. Yes I did sort of want to go but again that lack of the familiar was making me feel shy and a bit scared. Well God was doing the coercing. Firstly a lovely lady phoned me up and said she would meet me on the bus as she got on a stop or two before me. I agreed but was going to chicken out when another lady knocked on my door yesterday and said she would be round to mine at just after 10am to pick me up and take me. It wasn’t so much pressured as God making sure I was going to go. Well I went as I had no choice and the funny thing is that the familiar is in prayer meetings. Everyone wants to hear from God and pray for the person. It was a well set out one too. I loved it and I remembered that actually I am an intercessor. I like to pray. And I’m a bit good at it 🙂 The lady who had given me a lift was going on elsewhere but the other lady was going to show me how to get

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the second hand furniture shop and cafe

back on the bus but first of all we went for lunch because she was going on elsewhere. So she took me to a lovely cheap little cafe that does great snacks but also has a great second hand furniture store incorporated in it. There was some lovely stuff there and I will definitely drag Ian along on the weekend 🙂 So she introduced me to the familiar.

When moving somewhere new, even if it is the right thing and feels like home there are still so many things to have to sort out, so many things to miss. Sometimes you just need a friendly had to guide you, point you in the right direction, be a bit firm about things. Goodness we have only had the keys for this house 3 weeks on Friday and have only been living here for 2 weeks and 2 days. It all takes time, but knowing where to get certain items makes me feel much more comfortable and settled.

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Coming Home

Well I have decided to publish this. After days of being a bit disgruntled that we don’t have internet access I had a brain wave! I could join the library and take my laptop over and publish things like that. Duh!!

Apart from there is this thing in the corner of my screen that says “WifiSpark”, obviously telling me I’m on the library’s wifi, but it’s in the way of where I have to click to get pictures up. Oh well, blog post without pictures!!

(We are without internet as I write this. So this was written on Wednesday 17th February 2016 whilst I wait at home for our new fridge freezer to be delivered. The lovely people at Knowhow have given me a 4 hours window for delivery – between 9.10-13.10! So I sit and wait and write and watch the rain!)

It’s interesting how a place feels, or it to me. I know when I feel happy, safe, out of sorts, when a place is where it wants me. Being here, both our temporary stay in Gaerwen, Anglesey and now here in Abergele feels like coming home. It’s hard to put into words unless the person you’re telling has felt it too. My mum has always said there have only been two places she’s ever felt at home in; one the house she was born in and spent the first approximately 25 years of her life in, and then this house she’s in now which it looks like she’ll live her last years in. She’s been there over 35 years now. She lived in 4 places in between and says she never felt at home in those places, always feeling uncomfortable.

I’ve been amazed at the places I’ve felt at home in. Being here in North Wales reminds me of when I went to Belfast to live. I was only there 18 months and what went on around me was pretty traumatic but I still always felt it was a place that I was at home in. I felt the same when I lived in Greece. Again there were things that happened there that weren’t great but there was something in the heart of the country that made me feel like this was a place I belonged. I am feeling it here already. In fact as soon as we stepped out the car nearly two weeks ago at the chalet in Gaerwen, even though the rain was coming down in sideways sheets, it felt like we’d come home. In fact we both said it. There was something in the land which connected to our hearts. It feels like this land is welcoming us in.

Two unconnected friends both said they felt we were having to be like Moses when he crossed the Red Sea, willing to give it our all and not look back not knowing what was going to happen; the whole thing with being willing to sell our house in Wiltshire without knowing for sure if we would get this house here, and then the completion dates coming in together anyway. We had to be willing to commit to this place and this land and to the whole moving things. We had to be willing to go into temporary accommodation as part of our committing.

Dreams Can Come True

12717924_10153450638860698_431749189329462620_n(2)Yesterday whilst we were walking on the beach and looking at the mountains in the February sunshine we got a call to say that our house sale had completed then a hour or so later a call to say that our house purchase had been completed.

Ever since I was little I use to dream about living near the sea, close to mountain with a room of my own. This was my special place. I use to go there in my head when I felt sad or lonely or when I couldn’t sleep. It was a fantasy. I never prayed for it to become real and I suppose never thought I’d could have something like that. Not that I didn’t deserve it but that the lifestyle I was leading would never lead to that. I was content with where I was and who I was and that was it. Yet this morning I wake up and it has all come true. Actually I went to bed last night in a real grump, but I think that was because I thought the bubble would burst and that it would all fall apart, and that it really was “too good to be true!” Silly me!

It has been tough getting to this point, as in the buying the house and moving, but actually 6 sea roadthe journey to here too; the things we’ve walked through in the last few years which almost drove our marriage apart. I wonder why it didn’t? Both my husband and I have been in relationships that have ended in divorce without going through any of the traumas we went through. I wonder what we’ve had? Maybe it is that deep inside both of us there is this shared dream – of the sea and mountains – that has held us together? Who will know what it is that holds some people together and drags some people  apart. But all I do know is that I couldn’t be where I am now without him. And it’s not just that he has the money. It’s much more than that. Standing with my slightly hard-work-at-times husband has meant that I could achieve much more than standing alone. There was a point when we got in the car on 10 days earlier to travel to Wales into temporary accommodation without either our house sale completed and being told the other house was nowhere near ready that I panicked. If it hadn’t been for Ian I would have jumped out the car and gone back to bed, but he held there in strength and kept it going.

6a0120a85dcdae970b0120a86e0f51970b-piWhen we got married my father-in-law had a picture for us, of us sawing a huge log with one of those 2 people saws, and he said that the way things worked best in a marriage was when each person did their bit and took their turn in pulling the saw through the wood when it was the right time to do it, and that if one pulled when they should have been guiding the push, or even pushed when the other wasn’t ready to pull then there would be problems. But if we could each just know when it was our turn to do the right thing then the log would be sawn smoothly and no one would get hurt. We’ve made a mess of this over our past 9 years at times, pushing when we should have been pulling, or even forcing a push when we should have just been supporting and guiding, pulling when the other was pulling too. Yup we’ve messed up at times but we’ve stayed the course. And as I write this I’ve realised that another dream has come true. Ok so Ian isn’t the knight in shining armour coming in on his white charger, in fact he looks very silly and uncomfortable on the back of a horse, but he is my friend and my companion, he’s there with me to walk through. He is someone I want to grow old with.

We have become the verse we had read at our wedding from Ecclesiastes 4:11-13

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

So dreams do come true and with these it feels like quite unexpectedly 🙂 two-better-than-one

Things that help

beautiful-things-960047_960_720We are finding this part of the house move journey trying. Not difficult but trying. We are stuck in this limbo land of not knowing when things will happen and not having any control of how or when things will complete.

This came through on Martin and Gayle Scott’s update email of their journeying in Spain and other places:

It has though alerted us that the journeys this year are not going to simply roll out as we thought. We must be ready for the many detours. The unexpected will come in the shape of inconvenience, but the richness is in making the journey. We sense we are not to fight the diversions.

I wonder if this is part of what we are learning, that things won’t be straight forward and things will come with unexpected inconveniences and that we are to enjoy the richness ofpicmonkey-detours the journey?

Enjoy doesn’t mean it will be easy but it does mean it is part of the journey. We did feel, and have had it confirmed, that we are meant to be moving to Wales. The people buying our house are not just keep but more than keen, having had in carpet fitters and decorators and want to get started before we move out. The people we are buying from had their loft and the upstairs of their house packed, sorted and ready since the end of December. No one is the chain is deliberately holding things up but things are taking a long time. There are no major issues, but we have learned a lot.

So the plan is that we will leave our house this Friday to go to Wales but from there we don’t know. We had a plan as to when and what but that isn’t coming to fruition at the moment. We are experiencing many detours along this journey that we are having to cope with. Someone did ask if this was a battle but I have never felt that way, which is why I felt that the sentence about not fighting the diversions seems right for us too. We must accept them, not go into battle with them, trust in what God is saying and just roll with it. That’s what it feels like for me – that we have to roll with what is going on. Like being on _CRO0170.jpga ship or pillion on a motorbike, we just go with the way it is going and don’t try to force it any other way. With riding pillion, it works best when we just put our faith and trust in the driver and let him be the one who steers.

This one paragraph as encouraged me even though I am struggling, which I suppose is all part of the journey – coping with the struggles and accepting the things that encourage. Life isn’t one or the other but a mixture of both.

Trust and Vulnerability

86I’ve been chewing over this post for a while. It’s really about living in the liminal place, which sounds so cool when you talk of it as that spiritual place between earth and heaven but the word means inbetween place. And this is where we are, living in that place between places. Our possessions are packed in boxes. We have done our round of goodbyes. We’ve finished our jobs. But we cannot take up new jobs, sort our new house out ready for the whole hospitality thing, can’t get to know our new neighbourhood. It is an odd place to be.

In one of my regular emails this came up:

Have you found your own, unique sense of purpose for your life? Do you have a vision of what your life might encompass if you chose to live it from your deepest desires and yearnings, from the place of that which you value above all else? What would your life look like if you lived it in accordance with your authentic self?

See now this whole thing of purpose and vision I sort of looked at over October and November when we put the house up for sale and found the new one. For me that whole Patchwork quiltbit of know the vision and the why were sort of easy. Ok not overly but they were things God had been brewing in me, and in my husband, over a number of years, both together and individually. The thing is though they involved moving and place. These questions from Abbey of The Arts actually says about what would my life look like if I lived with my authentic self, not what would it look like if I moved to the right place. It caught me a bit unawares this morning but as I pondered I could see that what I have been doing is saying to myself and probably to God that I can be all the things He has said in the vision once we move to Abergele. This mornings questions say can I live it now?

 

The above paragraph was what I was going to explore but actually I am wondering if maybe we are not meant to be living the vision yet but are meant to be living in the liminal place, in that place of neither one thing or the other, that place of not planning. There was something said at church yesterday which I interpreted as people wanting to see how we lived though uncertainty and change. It wasn’t that the world wants answers but that they want to see how we really live. How am I living not in my vision but in my place between places?

hidingbehindwall-1I think often what is seen by those who don’t go to church is a load of people going to church services, pretending everything is ok, and yet hiding something. I do think in our modern church services we’ve tried too often to show God as the answer to everything when in fact He is the supreme being to hold on to, to shout at, to be hugged by, to be vulnerable with. God is about relationship in life not about answers to stuff we don’t even know the questions for.

Today I woke up all excited like a child on Christmas morning. Does this mean we are moving this week? Who knows. That isn’t in my hands at all to say, but what I do know is that even in this inbetween place I am excited about moving. Last week I was so caught up in wanting to know and then of wondering and angsting about trusting God that I lost my excitement. We are moving. It will happen. When? We don’t know but it will happen and I i-can-t-be-calm-i-m-too-excitedwant to hang on to the excitement of what will come; the walks on the beach, having a room of my own for writing, the guests we will be having, the new stuff, the spa I want to join.

As I wrote that I wonder too if we have forgotten the excitement of heaven, of Jesus coming again, whichever we get to first. It is going to be so amazing, but we have got lost in living in this inbetween place, this life on earth. We’ve either got worn down with the cares of life or of wanting to gather us to come with us but in fact we, as Christians who know what is to come – even if we don’t know the details it will be living with God for ever and ever and eternity. We should be like small children filled with that buzz and excitement.

Oh I love the fact that God can take my situation – moving – and turn it round to make me look at Him and what is to come. Wow!!!

One Day At A Time

I had a lovely response from a dear friend after yesterday’s blog which is probably the first time I’ve really seen Christianity and Mindfulness fully tie in together. He said: “Like an eagleisaiah40v31kjvalcoholic who needs to take one day at a time and say, ‘Today I am not going to have a drink’ similarly trust in God, surrendering to Him, is not worrying about tomorrow or the next day or next week but deciding to say each day, ‘Today I am going to fully trust God in all things’. This state allows us to live in and out of His will for us and therefore instills His Peace in our lives.”

So I took this and today as I was led in bed just said “Today Lord I’m going to trust you as best I can.” So if anyone asks me how long I’ve been a Christian I will say “today I’ve been following Jesus for  x hours”.

When I woke too this chorus came to mind

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

And I’ve been humming it all day. So often I think as a Christian I’ve seen it as a long haul and that I’ve got to be able to say something to others. I do have a great testimony in loadsone_day_at_a_time_by_franknardi2-d4s3yq8 of areas but at times I slip, at times its hard, but actually I can pick myself up and start again each day.  I think there can be times when I am especially hard on myself and think that I haven’t been honest or trusting God and really that is just me being accused by the Devil/enemy/inner self. I have had some amazing times when I’ve been trusting God for so much and then there have been times when I have crashed. If I can see myself as continually being resurrected and it not being  a once and once only event then I can happily sing “one day at at time sweet Jesus” rather than “let me know the plans in detail”. And there will be days when I crash, like I did on the weekend, and lose sight of if all but then there will be other times when I know where to go.

3wb37-07ongoingconversion4x5The last post wasn’t the first time I’ve been honest about where I am with God in my struggles and I don’t expect it will be the last. I am a work in progress and my testimony is built not in how I fall but in how I get up; not in the fact that I can keep going but in who I turn to when I’m crashed in the dirt.

So today, even though there are still many issues with the whole house buying thing and the person who could sort it is “out of the office” (on holiday?) till tomorrow, I feel at peace with God, with life and with the whole moving process.

I also feel grateful to the friends I have that don’t let me walk this alone. Sometimes their challenges are harsh but, as with the last few days, I finally feel like I’ve got it. I want to shout from the rooftops that this whole Christianity/following Jesus thing is something we need to want to do every day. It’s not about going to church. In fact we can hide in going to church, and often that is the complaint from those who don’t give the whole Jesus thing a go. (More on this to follow tomorrow – hopefully – as I don’t want to change the emphasis of today’s post)

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
Julian of Norwich   156980

 

Prayer – Not the answers expected

This whole house moving thing is stressful and so we’ve had people walking along side us interceding for us and many email back with messages of support. I sent an email update out on Sunday because of feeling so frustrated about not yet having a date to move. Some pen-282604_1280of the replies that came back were empathetic, some encouraging but some just wound me up. I started journalling about it this morning and then took the dog for a long walk. It is beautiful and frosty this morning and the sun had just come up and was making things glisten. A great day for a long walk.

What started as journalling I unpacked as I walked looking at how and why I had reacted to some of the email messages the way I had. One of the replies I had that really bugged me said: “he wants you to learn how to let go of your plans and ‘need to know’ and to allow Him to be the natural planner. When we can relax into the letting go of our own control and planning to settle into the peace of each present moment with God, then we learn how to surrender all to Him. Then we will be ready to move on into a new place of trust in Him and all will be revealed.”  This came from a friend who regularly challenges me so I did stop and think about it. I know I have posted on this before but what struck me is that I do not trust God.

Oh yes a biggie to say and not many places one can say it out loud but out in the frost frosty-winter-sunrise-1covered empty fields this morning I was able to tell God that I didn’t trust Him and listed the ways that I felt He had let me down. The list was long. It included healings that never happened and the people died, marriages that failed, dreams that never happened and were squashed, people I’ve prayed for who still are happy not in relationship with God and more. But it was not just that I didn’t trust God but also that I didn’t trust people and there are a lot of people involved in a house move that need to be trusted; buyers, sellers, estate agents and solicitors, removal companies, and friends and family. I told God all the people who I felt had let me down; friendships that were no longer close as they were, hurts and times of not being able to be open, church leaders who I felt weren’t there for me, and also the suicides and drownings we experienced. There were 4 people who let me down majorly, I felt.

So here I am at a place where I have to trust God and trust others and feeling like I can’t. No wonder I feel really stressed. If this was going to be a “good evangelistic post” I would now say that God said/did something, but He didn’t. No, but what He did was listen, and that was what I needed, just someone to listen without making a judgement call. I walked and talked and unloaded and cried and He just walked with me and let me. It was also interesting that once I had reach a point of peace with my feelings that I bumped into someone I knew to chat to. So I suppose yes God did do something, He let me talk myself to a place of peace.

peace-in-chaosHow do I feel now? I’m still struggling with the waiting and the not having a date but I feel much more peaceful with the struggle. Sometimes, I believe, we need to wrestle with God and with our thoughts and emotions. We need to be honest and open. I now understand why I’m struggling and through that reflection I now have peace with my feelings. This is very much what Mindfulness teaches. It isn’t about pretending that I’m ok, that I trust God, but accepting that I’m struggling. I think that this is what God really wants from all of us, not that we are sorted but that we accept how we are doing at this moment in time.

But also I know I couldn’t have done it without those I have included to ask to pray for us through this part of our journey. Even if I am at a point where I am struggling to trust people I have to include them in my journey. I suppose too that even if I am struggling with God I need to trust Him in my journey.

Peace comes by being open and honest