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Odd Socks and Guilt

4 Aug

Tonight, as I trawled through yet another pile of clean, dry laundry, I got to the bottom and found the same handful of odd socks that have been there for the past 6 months.

Irritated to see them there yet again, something in me snapped.

I don’t know if it’s the fact I’m in ultra-organised mode as I pack everything including the kitchen sink for our week of camping. We leave tomorrow and I am SO Not into camping it’s not even funny.
Don’t laugh at me.
Just. Don’t.

I don’t know if it’s the desire in me for radical change, for a new beginning.

I don’t know what made me do it, but I threw the odd socks away.
Trashed them.
Chucked them in the bin, in with a load of other rubbish.

And along with the odd socks I threw away a whole load of guilt.

Now I feel lighter.
I feel a little freer.
I feel….powerful.

See, the odd socks represent the past.
A little.
Ok, just bear with me and use your imagination.
If you have one.

I’ve been hanging on to those poor old, useless, hole-ridden, odd socks even though I’ve known all along there wasn’t even the remotest chance of reuniting them with their partners.

What good does it do to hang on to odd snippets of memories you’ve grown out of, bits of your past that are tired, worn, and will never serve you any purpose…?!

Sometimes, it’s ok to be radical and throw those memories away, cut yourself off from the effects of things past that really are of no use to you today. It’s really just a matter of choice. You are powerful. You are in charge of what you do with your past – NOT the other way round.

โ€œForget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18, 19 NIV)

Don’t let your odd socks clutter
your life.
Throw them away, guilt-free – and go buy new socks!!

What’s In A Gift…?

26 Dec

20111227-010507.jpgBoxing day.

The day after Christmas.

First day of the “January” sales here in the UK.
(…Don’t ask…)
(…we live in a world gone kerrrr-aaaaazy if you ask me…)
(…see what I did there??!…)
(…ah, never mind.)
*draws little circles by forehead with pointer finger*

First day of the new Christmas countdown: 364 days left.
WHAT…?!?
…SERIOUSLY?!?!
(Um – if that’s you, you need to get out more… Just sayin’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Boxing Day.
The day the pressure is lifted. For another 364 days – not that I’m counting.

The day the kids play contentedly with the multitude of toys they received on Christmas Day, and ask for nothing.
The day we all go for fresh air after being cooped up for the last 36 hours.

The day I breathe a sigh of relief that the marathon of cooking the mammoth Christmas meal is over; that it was delicious, well worth the effort, and that there is now enough for us to eat without me having to do much for the next two days… Two birds killed in one stone. Or two turkeys. Whatever.

A day to rest.
A day to Think About Things.

And so on Boxing Day (ie – today) I ponder on the gift I received this Christmas.
Not the Liquorice Catherine Wheels, not even the joy of watching my boys’ delighted faces as they tore open the ornate, shiny paper wrapping their presents.
20111227-001429.jpg
No – The Other Gift.
The Only Gift.
I didn’t particularly want or need anything else this year.

It’s a gift that multiplies, and becomes Lots Of Gifts.

It’s the gift of a new beginning, through the gift of grace, forgiveness and endless love my Saviour Jesus gave me.

The gift of a united family, bound by real, true, deep, unshakeable love and a covenant made before God 15 years ago.

The gift MIRACLE of a relationship made brand spanking new through (and in spite of) hardship and sin.

And through it all, the deepening realisation that God paid the Ultimate Price for His Gift to me, to Mr Wibbs, and to you reading this now.

My God gave up His precious boy, His son Jesus; He sent Him to be born into the darkness, the filth, the SIN of a world that He had so lovingly made, and that we subsequently so foolishly messed up; then God allowed Him, the Prince of Peace, Immanuel, to die at the hands of those He created (including mine, and yours) – so that the mess, MY mess, your mess – could be made right.

This, to me, right now, is all that matters – it is The One Single Thing from which all other gifts flow. It’s a gift of Absolute, Unconditional, Passionate, Transcendent Love. Redeeming, Restoring, Cleansing, Healing Love.

This Christmas I have known and felt His love for me like never before, and understand like never before what it means to be loved by Him. It means that I, we get a NEW LIFE. Now. For EVER!!

And that, my friends, means transformation in every area of my life. Things are being put right that were wonky shaky falling apart until about two weeks ago.

The Love my Jesus has for me is Eternal, Constant, Transforming and reaches deep into the very recesses of my soul until ALL THINGS ARE NEW.

What a Gift.
I truly didn’t need any more this Christmas.
Thank you, Lover of my Soul.
Thank you, Friend of friends.
Thank you, King of kings.
Thank you, Lord of lords.

Humbly I say,
Thank you.

Ready for Christmas??

18 Dec



There is a pile of Christmas presents at my feet as I type, nagging me, patiently waiting and needing to be wrapped.
My insides are still trying to recover from a tenacious virus…
And my house is only just back up to an acceptably snug temperature after being refitted with a brand new central heating system.
I have a mountain of clean laundry to wade through in order to find something to wear every morning, and a backlog of dirty clothes waiting to be fed to our valiant washing machine, or ‘pet’ as my dear friend Sharon likes to refer to it…
My gas cooker has all but packed up and my tumble dryer is suffering from a chronic leak.

Which leads me to this probing question, a question that has been plaguing me for the last couple of weeks: am I ready??
‘READY FOR WHAT’,
I hear you ask.
‘ER, HELLOOOOO?!?!?’, I nearly reply.

And then, I stop and think.

Who cares?!?
Where’s the fire?
What’s the rush?
And anyway, where’s this pressure coming from, to ‘be ready’ for Christmas…??

Who has written a law proclaiming that “ye shalt deck the halls with boughs of holly two weeks before Christmas”?
Why do I receive cards that say: “Merry Christmas from Tom, Dick and Harry Jones, Helen the goat and Jamie the goldfish”…
…No “dear” – or even “to” – to precede the ‘season’s greetings’ on many of them…

WHY?!?
I mean: why do people bother?! What is the point…? It makes me so cross; it all reeks of obligation, of duty, of reluctant compliance with Christmas ‘etiquette’.

So that when I find myself sneaking a little personal message on each of the Christmas cards I eventually manage to send, I almost feel like a misfit, a rebel. But I like that! Because to me that is the whole point: I’m not interested in conforming for the sake of it, just to ‘fit in’.

Don’t get me wrong here. I LOVE decorating the house for Christmas, putting up twinkly lights, buying the presents, the yummy food, making, sending and receiving cards; I love Christmas!!!

What I hate is the pressure we put ourselves under to make it ‘perfect’, to make it ‘just right’… To have the fairytale, picture-perfect, ‘Hollywood’ Christmas. A friend on Facebook (…and real life, yes…) said this:

“I see status updates about the stress of shopping, making and wrapping gifts and cards and am SO happy for the freedom of our decision of no gifts for anyone and cards for just the parents… we are enjoying the REAL spirit of Christmas SOOOO much this year!!! So fun. So free from obligations and stress. (Who needs another candle or bubble bath, anyway?? Just a waste of money to fulfil self-imposed obligations!)”

I want to do it my way – or rather, OUR way. I want us to create our own family traditions, make memories, and most important of all, help build a strong foundation of faith in our kids by putting Christ right bang in the centre of the whole thing. And that means that, yes I will refuse to be dictated to by the general western way of ‘doing’ Christmas.

Practically speaking, it looked like this for me today: all things considered, (see above!!) I decided to have a lazy morning, sitting on my bed with a cuppa, my Bible and notebook (oh, and before you start being impressed, or inspired by my oh-so-holy-and-perfect ‘devotional life’, let me assure you this is NOT a daily occurrence. Far from it… Not that I wouldn’t want it to be. Glad I cleared that up. You’re welcome.)
I had planned to write all my cards, wrap presents, start decorating the house so that I would feel more ‘ready’. But do you know something? I felt so relaxed after spending some time with God, and I realised that the other stuff?

…It can wait! It might not be ‘The Perfect Christmas’, but I’ll get there feeling far less stressed, and hopefully, with my heart in the right place. To welcome my Saviour again. To love Him, worship Him, and celebrate life, with Him.

Ultimately, that’s all that matters.

After the rain

24 Jul

I went for a walk before sunset tonight.
The sky was sublime, great big fluffs of pink butter icing floating just above the horizon.And on the other side, the roof of the woods and the fields below were gently silhouetted against an intensifying orange-tinged heaven…(…The photos really don’t do it justice – but they never do, do they?)

And the highlights of the day until then, were as follow: Thomas became the proud owner of his first ever bicycleMy parents called and we, the boys, the grandparents and their daughter, spoke for at least 1 hour and 1/2, as is our wont.They found a house, you see, and wanted to share their news ๐Ÿ™‚ – will maybe post a couple of pictures tomorrow, if permission is granted by the master photographer, aka NBP.

So, all in all, not a bad day.
To God be all glory.

Testing

19 Jul

I am trying out a feature on my iPhone which enables me to post to my blog from my mobile and while I’m away from my computer, which I seem to be most of the time at the moment!
I have neglected this poor little blog of mine for too long and feel it’s time to come back.
It would seem Blogging is in my blood; I have put my Facebook account on hiatus at the moment but am missing not being able to write my thoughts down which is one thing I love about FB (where, as anyone who follows me on there knows, I am ‘Update-Queen’!!!).
So hopefully this way, I can blog a little more regularly, organically, and keep at least a couple of ‘readers’ (well -more ‘friends’ really…) satisfied, as well as myself out of mischief…
And, in case you were wondering… This …is still very much on the radar… But more soon.

Intimidation – or why comparing is a no-no

9 Mar

I have suddenly come over all intimidated
and feeling pretty inadequate…
It’s no-one’s fault really, apart from mine…
I should know better than to compare myself to others. Big mistake.

As a result I now stupidly feel like I’m a lesser mother

…for just trying to get through the day without too many mishaps; for trying to just ‘survive’…
…for letting my kids eat meals in front of the TV much of the time
…for my uselessness when it comes to housekeeping
…for my inability to be consistent with my own boundaries
…for sucking big time at praying and fasting for my brood
…all too often for my lack of gentleness and kindness
…for my impatience and intolerance
…for even sending my kids to school, and not being able to cope with them being under one roof all at once for more than 5 minutes…! Seriously, shouldn’t I enjoy them and be grateful for every minute with them?? Instead I find myself craving my own space way too much and resenting them being there when they’re ill, or on holiday… When they ‘shouldn’t be’ there…

So many of you out ‘there’ are such amazing and godly mothers!!

Ok, so I have 3 kids who all have ‘special needs’…
I guess that explains quite a bit of the chaos that I live in.
Also I am single-parenting right now and it’s pretty heavy.
But if nothing else, surely I should be continually lifting my eyes to the mountains and acknowledging that my help comes from Him, maker and creator of all things; and petitioning Him for His help, His strength, His grace… And trusting that He will answer, in His way, in His time…..

I long – ache, even – to fill my home with laughter, beauty, dancing, singing, praise, joy, peace, godliness.
There is certainly an abundance of love in my home. That: yes.
But the yelling, the fighting, the lack of order, of firm boundaries…??

Oh God – help!
Give me eyes to see You in my life, in my home, in my kids’ lives, in my parenting, in my marriage.
Give me the grace to accept that it is in my weakness that your strength is made perfect.

A new start – Prologue

1 Feb


Operation-Devon phase#1 is under way…!!

We have had so much confirmation since we first started planning our move to the West-Country back in late August ( – or should I say, since God started revealing His plans to move us down to the West-Country); and so we are without a doubt that it is 100% right. This firm belief is anchored in our minds and with it comes reassurance, comfort and encouragement; peace beyond understanding, and excitement – as well as a few jitters too, but this goes without saying…: where’s the fun in life if the excitement of a new adventure isn’t slightly tinged with anticipation and trepidation??!?


And so Mark left this afternoon, his Range-Rover packed to the brim with ‘stuff’, and some ‘bits-and-pieces’, as well as quite a lot of ‘things’ (…ahem…) – to start his new job at Pennywell Farm tomorrow morning. There was some sadness, of course. A few tears, and quite a lot of unsettled behaviour prior to his leaving. But again that overwhelming sense of peace, and of being carried by God; of His plans for our family coming to fruition little by little, step-by-step.

Am I looking forward to being a temporary single mum? Hmmmm… Once the novelty of it has worn off, I think I will find it draining and exhausting, having to deal with the daily grind of breakfast, fights, soiled nappies, baths by candlelight, stories, unwanted dinners and night-time terrors alone.

We are not even certain right now when we will be reunited as a family – it could be a little while, because moving house is never 100% straightforward or predictable – especially in the current economic climate. We are looking at Easter at the earliest, but more realistically I anticipate it’ll be later in the spring (or maybe even early summer?)

We do not know but God knows. And that is enough. We trust Him. He will see us through the interim: this transition time between here and there, the separation, the ‘now and the not yet’… And that’s OK with me; why wouldn’t it be?!? He is good. His plans are good. He is faithful and He has promised good plans. So yes. We trust Him.

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