Starting the New Year with reasonable demands


I can still say that can’t I? I’m never sure when it’s too late to wish someone a happy new year… I’ve probably come back just in time.

Speaking of my absence… I’m delighted to see that even though it’s a month since I’ve written here, you’ve still been checking in and having a read. Thanks for that. As always, it’s much appreciated.

In case you missed it though, I’m now living in South Wales; the homeland of my husband. I’ve lived here before, so it kinda feels like home anyway. We moved back just before Christmas, so the last few weeks has been a haze of boxes – thankfully some of them were covered in Christmas paper.

This week we’ve spent a lot of our time filling in forms and taking or sending those forms to the relevant office to be processed. Bank accounts, registering the car, applying for job seekers allowance, applying for jobs. I’ve written my new mobile phone number so many times, I nearly remember it. (I’m not great memorising numbers – so this is a bigger feat than you realise.) I confess, a lot of it has been tiresome, answering the same questions repeatedly, trying to ‘prove’ who we are and where we live. Times like these can make me want to keep my head down. “Just leave me to do what I need to do, I’ll pay attention to that other thing when I’m done.”

Since I’ve written here last, Glasgow has had its 2nd tragic event in 2 years, another plane somehow fell out of the sky in Asia, and it seems the whole of Paris is on a lock-down as they try to track the terrorists who shot 12 people.

I don’t want to look up.

small__320922694I want to stay buried in the humdrum of bureaucracy. I can feel the call to look up, to look around and take in what is happening; I’m resisting it. The form filling is boring, and safe. And now that I’m nearly done with it, I wish I wasn’t!

I’m not sure what it is God wants me to understand or learn. I don’t know what it means and I’m not sure how to respond; but He is demanding my attention.


photo credit: runnx via photopin cc

Conquering fear? or just getting used to it?

can you see me?
can you see me?

Since childhood I’ve been afraid at night-time. As I write this in the cold light of day, I know it’s irrational but at the time – the fear is real. For many years there was no way I would stay in the house on my own at night. I’d have to go stay with someone else or have someone come and stay with me.

It became a bit impractical. I suppose it could have been arranged with some effort, but it just got… well… basically… it was just silly. So a couple of years ago, for the first time I stayed in the apartment on my own. The ritual was exhausting! I checked all doors and windows numerous times. I debated for ages who’d get the bigger fright, the burglar or me, if left the bathroom door open while I had a shower. I had to have TV or music on at all times and I had lots of light on. There’s nothing I hate more than walking into a dark room if I’m alone.

On Monday night himself was away and so I braced myself for the long walk up and down the apartment. When I got home I checked every room, to make sure that no burglar had let himself in and was browsing the books on the shelf or sitting in the spare room flicking through a magazine, awaiting my return. I made myself a drink and sat down in front of the telly. Then I realised I’d left my phone in the car. So I went out to the car to get it and when I came back in… yes you guessed it. I did another lap of the house just to make sure the burglar wasn’t having a shower himself. (Yes, I always check the bathroom too.)

You may well be wondering what medication I am (or should be) on. And don’t think that I don’t know it’s mad. I KNOW IT’S MAD! Sitting here it is ridiculous to think that in a few hours, all rationale will desert me if I am alone and I’ll be doing laps of the house, checking doors I’ve already checked.

As a Christian who believes the scripture that says, ‘perfect love casts out all fear’, I know it’s not what God wants for me.  I’m well aware that it is my love that is imperfect.

My double checking of all rooms confirmed that I am still as bad as I ever was. But what I decided to do on Monday night was give myself a break. It is what it is. I think I’m just getting used to it. I got into bed with a long film going on the laptop so I’d be asleep before it ended. I left the lamp on and eventually… fell asleep.

When I woke up, I did another lap of the house, to see if the well-read, freshly showered burglar had slept ok and wanted some breakfast. But there was no one there.

HUH! Typical ne’er-do-well. I can’t believe he left without saying goodbye! 😉

Five Minute Friday – Listen

I really enjoyed Five Minute Friday that last time I did it, so here goes…
Five minutes of unedited, non stop writing on this week’s given theme ‘Listen’

I can’t stand noises that I don’t know what they are. I find an unusual noise frightening, and I have to go and investigate to see what it is. The most repeated phrase in my house after “pass the chocolate” is… “Sshhhh, listen, what’s that noise?”

The weirdest ‘find’ ever was when I heard a fast scratching sound that would last a few seconds and then stop for half a minute and then start again. Of course (!) the beloved couldn’t hear it and after a few goes I had to get out of bed and find what it was. I followed the sound to his side of the bed and it was definitely coming from under his bedside locker.

I moved the locker and a HUGE beetle was on his back, legs scrabbling trying to turn himself back over. As you can imagine I reacted in a calm and measured way… After screaming the house down, the husband was dispatched to return the beast to its natural habitat.

A ‘Beetle’ of a different kind…
I could not bring myself to put a creepy crawly on my blog *shivers*

I’m not kidding, I hear everything. Every little sound and squeak.
But it’s important to me that someone else hears it.
When it happens, I don’t just want him to listen to the noise.
I want him to listen to me.
Listen to my fear.
Reassure me that it’s nothing.

Needy? Maybe.
Silly? Yes.
Important to me? Absolutely vital!

Five Minute Friday

photo credit: cszar via photopin cc

No yets or buts!

I was reading a blog post the other day and it was a letter to God. This man’s friend has a child who is very ill and the writer was so frustrated that none of his prayers were being answered. He said he has been defending God to the parents of the sick child but he confessed that inwardly he isn’t as sure of God’s love and power as he was proclaiming.

It reminded me of some of David’s psalms – where he pours out his heart to God.
Why do you let the people perish?
Why do you let evil prosper?
Where are you when it hurts?
Can you hear me?
Are you even there?

But one thing you often find in these psalms is… a ‘but’ or ‘yet’. I’m paraphrasing again but you often read…

Things are crap, but I will praise you.
My world is falling apart, yet I will trust you.

This is missing from the blog post. It ended with no answers, just more questions.

I can safely say that I’ve spent the bulk of my Christian life totally confused about what God is up to. I don’t have a crisis of faith, in the sense that I have no doubt that He is there – and I believe the Bible and the glowing character reference it gives God. But like me, the writer of that blog post feels as if, verses that say things like, ‘your ways are not our ways and your thoughts are not our thoughts’ are just not enough.

I was going to challenge the guy though and suggest that he should do a bit more trusting and a bit less complaining. But I didn’t and I’m glad I didn’t. At that moment I remembered an email I’d send to a Christian a while ago, I mentioned I was struggling with some stuff and asked for prayer. The reply came that I should stop complaining and rejoice in the victory that God has given me.
I will probably never ask that person for prayer again and or share a struggle with them. Even if they are right and I’m wrong – the response did nothing to warm my cold heart that day.

It’s very easy to thump someone on the shoulder and tell them to rejoice in their sufferings. Sometimes too easy. A valley usually only looks pretty when you’re viewing it from the top.  When you’re down deep in it, the view is never as good.

These verses in Habakkuk 3 always come to mind when I’m pondering stuff like this.  And I’m sure I’ve shared them before…

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Even though it looks like I have nothing to thank you for, I’m going to thank you anyway. I actually do believe that because of who He is, God is worthy of our praise regardless of my state of mind or heart.
But my state of mind and heart sometimes makes it harder to praise him.

I suppose I was affected by the blog post cos of the empty questioning that sounded like it would never be answered. I was hoping for the ‘but’ and ‘yet’ at the end of the post and it never came.
That doesn’t meant that I can’t add it tho… 

I really do thank God for His unconditional love!
If I was in charge I’d have given up on me a long time ago! 🙂