Parent Trap

Right folks, let me know how you think all this connects up:

I left [the parental] home a month before my 17 birthday (10 YEARS AGO!!) and really never looked back. I spent my 17th, 18th and the weekend of my 19th birthday with my parents, then after that it was all about time spent with friends. During university I wouldn’t have gone ‘home’ for summer; during the other holidays my stays were a matter of days. The summer I went into 3rd year of uni my parents moved to Africa.

Growing up my parents weren’t really around. For all of my life- until roughly I was 13- dad would have gone to work early, got home from work late, told us to turn the tv off. From perhaps primary 3 mum was working during the day so we’d often have a babysitter after school. From the age of about 9 or 10 until the time they left for Africa mum was a childminder- looking after other people’s kids took priority.

This mid- week I find myself back at ‘home’ (but a different building). The parents are back, and have been for three years now, and it’s my brother’s birthday coming up. Now I’ve never been much of a crier but at the old age of 27 years I cry on the first day of a stay at my parent’s house. Usually I blame it on being tired and today I thought it was only me missing that important person [who used to be] in my life, but what gets me all the other times?

But also today mum comes in from work and asks ‘how is your life?’. Now understand the situation: I tell my mum very little about my life. Having said that, she’s not completely behind on the times, and I would like to share with her the struggles I face but when faced with such a broad question…. What am I supposed to say?! Then follows her asking to see photos I took at last week’s wedding. Out comes my phone by which point she’s making arrangements for later, setting the table for dinner, and very much mind moved on from photographs.

Then there’s dad. Now this is something I really need to let go of and its a deep routed thing; not something actually happening in the here and now. Growing up he would have had a short temper. If something wasn’t working or he was frustrated he would make loud, angry noises. These days he’s better at processing disasters and responds almost accordingly. Earlier he was fixing the zip on my bag, because he’s kind that way. But for the whole time this is going on I’m really nervous because I think he’s going to become frustrated that things aren’t going as he’d like and out would come the angry noises. Totally stupid. But then there’s the times when he makes it sound like the whole world is out to get you. Today’s topic: prospective employers wanting one reference to be from your current employer leads to your current employer realising you’re looking for a job elsewhere so screwing you over by sacking you and finding a replacement… Now my dad is a smart, educated, sensible man, but not everyone is that cruel! Yet he thinks there are very few honest people out there- put like that though and I’d be tempted to agree.

So maybe I just miss my friends; perhaps I hate having this attention on me but at the same time hate not being given the appropriate space to share. Maybe I’m sad my parents don’t know the real me.

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Life Goes On

I didn’t write yesterday. Part of me wanted to take what I said on Tuesday and stick with it, which meant not writing anymore. The other half of me knew that this blog wasn’t really about the particular situation I find myself but actually the overarching issue of not fully accepting Christ’s love for me; so really there was no need to stop writing. Perhaps I felt uninspired yesterday.
I’m not completely sure how this post is going to pan out but I know I want to talk about doubt. As plain as it comes I doubt that God’s love is greater than that of a human being’s. More specifically I doubt God’s love to the point that I’ve convinced myself that the happiness of having a guy far outweighs that of the happiness God does provide. Or maybe it’s doubting my worthiness of God’s love that’s the problem. I doubt Christ’s steadfast love and subconsciously think ‘surely He’ll give up on me’. 

Really I need to talk all this through with somebody ‘professional’. I don’t know where these trains of thought come from but they sure are damaging. I read the words of truth, I sing the words of truth, I hear the words of truth, but still I don’t seem to get it. Is it all to do with past experiences? Why is my attention focused on finding a life partner, rather than, looking for a couple who model ‘parents’ better than mine did, for example?
For me I need people literally in my life. Even to have a body on the other sofa in the living room- that’s enough for me to feel loved. Perhaps because Jesus the person isn’t physically stood next to me I find it hard to connect with the idea that He loves me. Yes the Holy Spirit is in me and at times I’m very aware of that, but it’s not the same as a person putting their arms around you in a hug; sharing with you something which is placed somewhere so deep down in who they are that you know you are a trusted person. It’s not sharing meals, car journeys, jokes….
But then it’s not all about me. And all of that little bit just said is love. Hugs, secrets, food, journeys, jokes. It’s love and it’s Jesus and it’s His mandate for me: that I would love as He loves. Through giving you receive. Perhaps I just need to open my eyes and be grateful for what has been so gracefully given.

Wisdom, Knowledge, Good Sense, Insight 

Wisdom: close friend 

Knowledge: companion 

Good Sense: scouts ahead for danger 

Insight: keeps an eye out

In all they keep you from making wrong turns/ following bad directions

No matter how hard I’m finding this I know my relationship wasn’t unwise. There were no wrong turns or following of bad directions. I know God is using that relationship for His glory. 

So often we’re doomed from the start:

  • we don’t start with God- we don’t communicate! We talk (often not to Him) and don’t listen.
  • we forget that wisdom trains; it’s not an overnight transformation. We come running to God when things head in the wrong direction and expect instant results with a head full of the right answers 
  • we fail to ask ask for wisdom- it’s free: have integrity; travel on the path most trodden and you will be provided with common sense and a bodyguard 

“Keep Holding On”- Avril Lavigne

The sentiment of holding onto the past is one most of us can relate to. Whether good or bad there is a sort of comfort from those past times which we can’t bare to live without. Personally, I hold onto the memories of the good times; the moments when I was made to feel good or I know I’ve made the other person happy. But in holding onto only the ‘happy’ things we’re lying to ourselves because things aren’t good all of the time. In only remembering half of the events, half of the story we’re basing the now on is a past that didn’t exist.

Holding onto the past also encourages us to hold onto the person who was, not the person who is now. When Mary realised the man stood before her at the tomb was Jesus she called him ‘Rabboni’- great teacher, not ‘Lord and Saviour’: she saw Him as the person He was on Earth and not what He post resurrection was. For me, I need to stop using the term ‘bestie’ because that’s not who he is now! Things have changed: conversations have been had, and emotions realised, and terminology has shifted. In letting go of the past I need to acknowledge that this is just a friendship like every other one. Time and healing needs to take place and with that is a calling to let go of what was, focus on today-being thankful for God’s provision for today, trusting tomorrow’s business is in God’s hands.

Of course I would want to hold onto what he and I had- these were special times when we could love each other well; this time was not wrong or bad but Jesus wants more for me: He wants me to know with all that I am that He adores me more than any guy could. He wants me to know that perfect love comes only from Him. He wants me to know that I am enough. My recovery cannot be about ‘him’.

He wants more for you, too.

Easter Monday

I have had such a blessed day. Considering the three of us went into it knowing it wasn’t going to be anywhere near our favourite day ever we didn’t come off too badly. Independent women making the most of Easter Monday in this oh-so- strange country was full of pleasant surprises and plenty of food, yet I found myself at moments longing to be somewhere else with someone else. But I stuck with the blessing the Lord had provided: wise friends.

What I need to say is nothing. It’ll be tough, I’m going to want to speak out of this silence, but in the silence we hear God speak. He has so much to teach him and myself. There is much that God has planted in me previously that I must give time to fruit. In those moments of wanting my own way  and explaining away what is I need to be silent to hear God’s affirmative truth.

I have cycles to break. When I told a friend that the bestie and I had in a round about, not so straight forward way decided to call things a day she said I should get on a dating website. So here’s the deal: I need to let God love me before letting a guy love me. I don’t find myself in these awkward, sticky situations because I’m absolutely lovely and all guys have commitment issues! I have cycles of behaviour and patterns of thought which must be broken. I look to human males for the gratification only God can give, then think the world and their dogs are after me when it ends with a car crash and I was the driver. Filling this emptiness with guy after guy until I find ‘the right one’ isn’t going to fix me. Acceptance of God’s unfailing love will.

People need to hold me to this. How quickly I forget.

Afraid yet filled with joy

I’ve always thought of myself as relatively emotionally sturdy; these days it feels like particular fears are debilitating. Fear hits us all, sometimes when we least expect it, and sometimes in the exact same place, over and over again, but God can silence these fears. Since returning from Rwanda and being faced with walking this journey without the friend I did most things with fears of an unhappy existence (such lies of the Devil!) have at times overcome me so I have had to believe that God can and does silence my fears.

People react differently to fear. But what is it that we are afraid of? What do we think is going to happen? Forgetting many of the details, I once heard a guy say that every fear each of us has is rooted in death: no one is a great fan of dying. We are like the centurions left guarding the tomb who were afraid of dying, but the cure for death had just been resurrected and it’s right in front of us all now. Think of how Mary and Martha reacted in comparison however: they were afraid, but filled with joy. With a different perspective they had a different reaction to the same event. This is a distinct and extraordinary gift followers of Christ have.

Thank you, Jesus, that Your glory is greater than our fear. When the world cowers in fear or tries to explain You away, give us courage to hold out the gospel. For You have defeated death itself. You alone are our joy. Amen.

a thousand tiny resurrections

1 Kings 17

Jesus appeared in marginal situations

Imagine yourself as the widow

Do not fear. Circumstance altering words. Watch as things unfold

Real material resurrection has real tangible material effects on people; it means something for people today. And we have a part to play in it

To be a resurrection people 

  • We need to operate on the margins – which are everywhere! Critique the power structures of the day 
  • …it requires protest; disturb the peace and equilibrium 
  • Recognise that we must journey with people through the deaths and resurrections of life

Ultimately it’s a game of thrones 

This is why I need God! Because everyone needs God. And without God how would they know? Without God I am an insular, negative individual.

Made of Honour 

One of my favourite films, with one of my favourite people, but I’m not feeling it. You know, because it’s about a guy who’s best friends with a girl. She falls for him but he doesn’t realise until she goes to Scotland for six weeks, by which point it’s too late because she finds a guy who proposes to and she says yes. Sorry for the spoiler.

I saw him today. He was ‘on worship’ aka playing in the band. So I saw him. Then we went for lunch with some others, then he drove a friend home, and that was it. I really don’t like this. I’m no good at chat when there’s a group of people and we’re walking down the street. I want to be able to sit by my best friend and not have to talk necessarily. I want to know the finer details of his life, because that’s who we are! It’s like this carrot is being dangled in front of me and at the same time….I dunno. It’s not often that I’ll see him, BUT THIS IS NOT GOOD EITHER. 

Update: I cried in church this evening but it was more the Holy Spirit revealing how messed up I am and how I really need Jesus rather than the boy situ per se. I then cried on the phone to my friend who the Devil is using as an object of jealousy in all of this. In her grace she understands how her being a mutual friend puts her in a position that is difficult for me, but she has utterly nothing to be sorry or feel bad for. ‘God of second chances’ comes to mind…

Saturday of Waiting 

The friends and family of Jesus were left in this period of waiting: they trusted Jesus when He said He’d rise again, but when? The priests and authority figures were also kind of waiting. They still couldn’t believe what had happened the day before but they wouldn’t put it past the disciples to steal Jesus’ body from the tomb so guards were sent…to guard.

I don’t know if I’d say I’ve been waiting today. I guess I have been waiting today for tomorrow- I’m excited that tomorrow is Easter Sunday and that is such a joyous day and I will sing at the top of my lungs, but I’m waiting too to see ‘him’. I miss him, gosh do I miss him.

Saturday’s were always spent together. I’d work in the morning then we’d go into town. Once we bought him really nice brogues, often we’d just drink coffee. There was at least one special Saturday that I can remember from last year: the one two days after my birthday. It wasn’t special because it was my birthday, but because it was the first time since we saw each other after we sat facing each other, crying to various degrees over the sickness in the world around us. I have an immune system that hates my liver and my skin, and he during his recovery from heart surgery watched two guys on his ward die. I know I deserve to live but sometimes think it’d be easier to be with Jesus, and he doesn’t believe he deserves to be alive…

  

Such a Good Friday 

I feel like I’ve done a lot of typing today. I wanted to catch up from yesterday (apologies, I was at a wedding) and being the way I am I wanted to keep with two or three blog posts per day. But with all this typing comes many emotions. As many bloggers have probably blogged, this week is Holy Week and today is Good Friday.

Articulation isn’t one of my strong points so I won’t try to convey all of my thoughts and emotions regarding this dark but at the exact same time, light, period in the calendar but I do have a few things to say. I am so incredibly thankful. I kind of want to break out in song because so many lines perfectly sum up what I want to say.

“Praise the Father, praise the Son, praise the Spirit love has won. Christ has conquered death and shame. Christ has risen, praise His name”
The question ‘who do you think Jesus is?’ comes to mind. Well I know He’s my Saviour. I know He was obedient to the point that we as fully human beings will never display. He knows betrayal and abandonment. He endured severe beatings, and was humiliated- all in less than a 24 hour period. 

Times of desperation can harden or soften us but Christ’s crucifixion calls us to think on the real identity of The Son of God. I can go through mental state after mental stability after mental flooring and I can make it difficult for myself by loathing in self pity or I can give God the honour He deserves by proclaiming Him King over my life, resting in the freedom that is mine, comforted in the knowledge that Jesus paid it all- mentally, physically, spiritually- so all to Him I owe. He walked my hurts before I ever knew them, and He has made a way for peace.