Sunday, 12 December 2010
Saturday, 4 December 2010
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me, in the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We're less than half as close as I want to be.'
One of my aboslute favourite songs of the season. Christmas and New Year always makes people intropesctive, makes them evaluate the year, make resolutions for the next. I tend to do this every other day regardless of the festive lights. Anyway, a few things recently have got me thinking.
Last night I sat talking to a good friend, discussing just how crazily busy life's gotten to be. I hate that my priorities haven't necessarily shown themselves in the wake of this. I mean, I'm involved in missional stuff, but that's not most important to me. No? Yes. I'm a full on believer in the idea that we focus on the vertical and God will take care of the horizontal. I'm not undermining the importance of evangelism, I adore it and I wouldn't be here without it and think it's absolutely what we're called to do. But first, above all all all I want to seek God and get closer to Him personally. And any seeds of life spread to people in association with my being are scattered as an overflow of how much I love Him and He loves me. Well, that's what my soul screams for...
The rub is, I don't feel like I'm seeking all that much. Well, I am, but not ever enough (will it ever be enough? probably not).
And an email I just read has made me feel like the hugest hypocrite ever.
Rather than dwell, I guess this should just be corrected. Sort it out Hull.
"One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple." - Psalm 27:4
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Friday, 19 November 2010
"Thou canst not every day give me thy heart,Yes, I rip quotes out of all context and take advantage of them in a most vulgar way a lot of the time. I am sorry.
If thou canst give it, then thou never gavest it" - John Donne, Lover's Infinitenesse
Regardless, this quote from John Donne (I used to think he was amazingly inspiring...now I think he's a little perverse and creepy), this quote I like. It's an accusatory line, directed at his lover. Every day she keeps giving him everything...or so she says. But what he recognises is that if she gave him everything, there'd be nothing left to give the next day.
It's a beautiful gesture, to give someone everything, all of you- but logically, it can only be done once. Otherwise, one of two conclusions can be obviously drawn. First, that the gesture was a lie, her words just words, that she professed to love him, said all of her was his...whilst in reality she kept herself for herself and never gave anything at all. Or, maybe, she gave herself to him, then reclaimed it, took it back ready to give again the next day. Either way, something's amiss, and he knows it.
The fact is that this is me. Christians have this cheesey exclusive terminology and way of wording things (let me learn again to pray prayers that include 'peng' and 'brap' please God). When someone asks for your 'testimony', you say, 'Well, when I was 14 I gave my life to Christ'. That was the turning point. I said that I belonged to Him and I was His, all His.
But, I've said it hundreds of times since. I'd like to say I say it every day, but I doubt it. How many times have I stood in church and sung, 'take my life, let it be, everything, all of me, here I am, use me for Your glory'...or 'Be my everything'...or 'I'll stand, my soul Lord to You surrendered, all I am is Yours'...the list is massive, they're all flooding through my head now (I quite like this). How many times have I resolved to change and cried out 'right! this time God just take me! I give up, I keep messing up when I go my way, I'm all Yours now...'?
Every time I give God my heart, it's a harsh light on the fact that I kept a little bit for myself last time I did it. That I never really gave it all. That I took some back. I give Him everything as often as I hold it back from Him.
Don't get me wrong, it's better, I think, to say you're His each day, every day. I don't think that my hypocrisy is a reason to stop trying. But, how amazing would it be to actually give Him everything? What would it look like?
Where are the naked prophets? Where are their harlot wives?
My prayer is that my prayers would be true. If I expect Him to honour them, maybe so should I...
Thursday, 18 November 2010
(All... I... know...) Every good thing, every true thing, beautiful in me is You, beautiful in me is You.
I see a thousand young men, they're all marching in time with the war on their doorsteps and their lovers behind them, and all of their glory flows back to their master, but they care not for honor, for they wear His robes.
I'm tired of striving to be, who You already say that I am. I am Yours...
Take what You need to take, say what You need to say to make me who I am meant to be, You can have it all.
-- My Epic: Author.
God is pretty good to me. The past week or so has been huge testament to this. I am thankful for the following things: grace, healing, risks, foreign men dressed as death, Yorkshire tea and readybrek munchies after a night out (amazing), Text-a-Toastie, action songs at church, small children, bole hill, giggling fits, second chances (and third, fourth, fifth...)
-and there are more to come. Merci beaucoup mes aime.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
That statement isn't really accurate, on further pondering.
First is this- when I feel far away, it's usually because I'm facing the wrong direction. If I turned around, I'd be nose to nose because He's always right behind me waiting. This is a picture I'm getting a lot.
Second- the lovesick person (as a wonderful friend reminded me yesterday) is constantly in a state of both complete contentedness and completely insatiable longing. Sometimes I focus on one more than the other. I either get complacent, basking in my comfortable life of security in God, just floating, drifting, serenely and joyfully. Or I fix my eyes on what I don't have, what aspects of His character that I want to see more of, and I long, I covet, I search. There needs to be a balance more than 60% of the time. To be satisfied and secure, yet still ridiculously excited for new revelation.
Monday, 1 November 2010
Saturday, 30 October 2010
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." - Micah 6:8
Simple commands for simple minds. Just do this, this simple thing, and everything else will fall into place. But what about- Just love God. What if- And love other people.
Shown what is good, told what the most important things are, given specific, simple instructions that require no heavy lifting but just a willing heart. Why? Because it's all that matters. All we need. And deviation from these simple things leads to hurt and complications and misery. Simples- it couldn't be easier for us- grace has done it all, all we have to do is live in the way that our response should dictate.
But I don't. Even when I know what is right and good, I go my own way. I don't act justly. I don't love mercy. I don't.
And these are the reasons I think that we're ill.
"If only You’d wash me, ’cause I can’t see the stains. My G-d, I’m so scared, ’cause I’m fractured but I don’t feel the breaks. Have I loved too many daughters to ever be whole? I’m ashamed that You love me. Send grace for the hearts that I stole."- Lashes, My Epic.
Sunday, 24 October 2010
"If we believe but do not follow...then maybe we don't believe." -tree.
Sunday, 17 October 2010
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water...
Where then are the gods you made for yourselves?
Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble!"
"Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday
But I realized some bigger dreams of mine
And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy
Who changed his mind.
And we both cried.
Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them..."
HILARIOUS turn of events.
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Saturday, 2 October 2010
I don't think God does half-measures. He didn't send Jesus with the fanciful idea that maybe He'd save all of Galillee, but with the full intention that the world, the whole world and every single broken heart in it would turn back to Him. He healed with that vision in mind. He multiplied food with that vision in mind. He picked up the cross and stumbled to His death to pay the ultimate price for sin with that vision in mind. Even now, the repurcussions of that life and that death and that resurrection are creating ripples of salvation that eventually will cover every person. If God changed His vision and gave up, we'd be lost.
He did not compromise. Jesus was offered kingdoms by satan and He refused. He had a vision of how this rescue was going to happen, and it was love all the way. And the result of that is what He promised, what He came to bring- life in all its fullness. So why, when we're hidden in Him, made co-heirs of everything that Jesus has from the Father, why do we settle for less than God says is possible?
In anything, all I'm thinking is this. God has enough power and strength and sovereignty to save the world- so if He's put a vision in your heart, don't settle for less, don't lower your standards and don't doubt that He'll do it if you persevere. Change your attitude and faith before you change your vision. Hold fast. Hope hard.
I'm talking at myself again.
Monday, 20 September 2010
I profess this very often I feel, but I adore childlike qualities of trust and faith. I love that they're unhindered by experience, disappointment and conflicting messages coming in from the world around them. Often I've been warned by older people, those that have experienced much more than me in many ways, that life isn't as beautiful as I want it to be. That my standards need to lower, that I need to expect difficulty and hurt. That I need to be less like a child, that I need to be more like an adult in my expectations. It distresses me that wisdom and cynicism are so interchangeable in some people's minds.
When I was a teenager (a proper teenager), I decided that I'd fight against the tide of dysfunction and depression around me. I was determined that no matter what I heard, saw, experienced, I would remain a Romantic (capital 'R') and believe in something better. After a short while and some dangerous events involving characters more sinister than I originally gave them credit for, I realised that believing in something better had to be mixed with a certain streetsense. To be naiive to the darker things of the world was not the aim, nor was it to be ignorant to people's suffering or to put myself in danger when danger could be avoided.
I was ridiculously distressed when I realised a couple of weeks back that I had, despite my vows, become cynical and resigned. I let too much of the bad in the world through my eyes and it became my lens. Things happened which should have disappointed me, but instead left me with an apathetic satisfaction. It was expected. No hopes were raised, no defences lowered. This is in one sense a problem of pride- I cheated the system, I didn't get hurt, I'd seen enough and experienced enough not to feel it again. This was much worse in my eyes than being hurt and disappointed. At least with disappointment, it comes from hope. Hope of something better. Not always fulfilled, but always fulfilling.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” - C S Lewis.
There is no safe investment. But my word, I'm casting off cynicism, I'm putting on childish hope again. I would rather be disappointed by the world a thousand times than forsake the hope I have. Other wise, what's the point?
I need to look at the world, people, events, with a different standard in mind. I need to hope for that standard. I need to be disappointed daily. I need that to drive my actions.
There's more to this, and much more coherency I can't reach right now.
Saturday, 4 September 2010
Sunday, 29 August 2010
G-d, save us from our good intentions.
What you meant to be organic we’ve refined into an engine.
We call it progress, but we forget that even water is poison if we breathe it.
Just how much can we love when we’re spread so thin... spread so thin?
Just how much can we love when we’re spread so thin?
Where are the naked prophets? Where are their harlot wives?
How can the Spirit move when His body parts don’t coincide?
These times are complicated so we compartmentalize,
there are few burdens shared just seldom intersecting lives...
Satan came and offered up the kingdom whole,
Messiah refused, then took it man by man.
Pharisees thought he would topple the empires,
but He changed the world by caring for men, not the systems they create.
Temples for the temples? Systems for the Spirit?
We became the temples, so let’s build each other.
Could we hear the Spirit if we just lived simpler?
Everybody go and grab your neighbors! Let’s all sink our roots and see a harvest!
Nobody alive has all the answers, but Abba bears the load when love is hard!
What to write about! I'm not going to give a blow by blow account. If you want stories or details, by all means ask me because God showed up big time and I could talk for hours of the power and love of His that we were privy to in just 2 weeks in East Africa. My word. What I will say is that my God heals. My God speaks. My God raises the dead. My God loves.
The team I went out with were indescribably wonderful, and it was a privilege, I thought especially for me, to be with them. Each had such different skills and experiences, but we all love Jesus and want to see more of Him, and that was enough to make it work. I can't put into words how grateful I am for the opportunity.
When we were on the plane home, a man in front of us turned and said, "You have the happy bouncy look of people returning from a mission trip". This excited me, that a stranger could glean from our tired exteriors that we'd been in the presence and movement of God. I hoped that we'd glow in the UK, that people would ask us why, that we'd tell them that like Moses on Sinai, we'd been hanging with God and His glory was stuck to us, changing us. When I eventually got back to Nottingham, my mum picked me up. We had coffee, and she asked what we'd been doing. I did the whole, "well, stayed at the orphanage, loved the kids, did some dramas, helped with the feeding, gave out worm medicine..." all to smiles and nods. "Then we went to a village and prayed with some people and this deaf boy we prayed for got to hear and a mute guy we prayed for started shouting hallelujah..." Face of stone, like a blind had been turned inside. My brother laughed. Mum went to busy herself in the kitchen. On 3 hours sleep in 40 hours I went out to church where people would get excited and grin at what I was so amazed by. (Though for fun I threw a final story at mum on the way out of how we'd met a guy who was raised from the dead and subsequently forgave his murderer). Giggles. But yes. Sad, in some ways, because my family doesn't believe what I've seen. Beautiful, in a way because I appreciate my church family so much more than I ever have before now. Most importantly, I am not going to shut up about this- I'm not standing on a soap box (I don't know what a soap box is...whether it has anything to do with real soap or not)...but if someone asks me what I did over the summer, I'm telling them and I'm telling them straight.
"For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." acts 4:20
"You have done many miraculous things, O LORD my God. You have made many wonderful plans for us. No one compares to you! I will tell others about your miracles, which are more than I can count."
Not even attempting to do an overall commentary on Moz, or the summer, or Momentum...things'll filter through in time I'm sure. What I can say is that never in my life have I felt so different after a period of six weeks. Thank you.
Saturday, 21 August 2010
If there was ever any hope that we could stand on our own,
it was crushed by what he saw on that mountain...
The glory of the latter house is much greater than the former one,
and it was never in the structure but the Builder himself,
and nothing will remain forever if it’s not made new again...
I remember that not every rain stops falling down when the earth is nourished.
I can see now that not every flame is kept steady burning till the wood is ash....
I’m not gonna make it if You don’t remake me. No, I won’t ever make it unless You remake me.
I’ll carry Grace like a flame. Only You could refine. Perfect! Perfect!
Find in me the things to stay. Burn us bright but not away... bright but not away.
I’ll carry Grace like a flame. Only You could refine. Perfect! Perfect!
Strip away all that remains. Burn us bright but not away... bright but not away.
Monday, 26 July 2010
In other news, My Epic's new album Yet has been played in my ears repeatedly since I received it on the 8th of July. I cannot describe how good it is. Every day lyrics reflect my heart, my failures and my regrets, my awe and my gratitude. I may go as far to say that it is my all-time favourite album now, which is not something I'm in the habit of professing. The songs are often more challenging than sermons, contain more succinct lessons of who God is, who we are, what life is like trying to reconcile these two. Just beautiful, painful, honest emotion of desperate hearts. It's haunting.
I know with each breath I come one closer, but death is just a hook behind the door where I’ll leave my dirty clothes....
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
The past few weeks have woken me up. I'm tired of conforming to the pattern of life around me. I got so wrapped up in fitting in that I changed shape somehow to do so. I've been reminded of the things that have been put on my heart, what makes me passionate, what makes me...me.
I long for things that I don't have, and disregard those I do.
I now long for longing. I would rather strive for the unattainable, reach for the unreachable, than concede. There must be more than this.
So you know what, I'm going to Africa in ten days. And I am so ready to face this. Break me, shape me, anything, just take me and use me and make me all Yours.
I've just counted through the money people have been giving to fund the trip, and up until 2 weeks ago it was not looking likely that I would raise enough. In the past week alone, the amount has doubled. God is so incredibly good, and the people He's made to be so generous are beautiful reflections of Him. I will tell you also, that money has literally been appearing, with no explanation or discernible source. Awesome. If you wish to donate (I have no idea who reads this), feel free at http://www.charitygiving.co.uk/become-city-pemba. And wait for the stories of how God's worked through us and in us out there when I return.
I'm quietly excited about quite a few things at the moment. September in Sheffield. Bring it. This year is going to be very different to last year. But more of that later, because I have songs to sing right now...
Ah but lastly, a friend just sent me some songs they've recorded, and I have no idea when the last time was that I was that happy. So joyful. Very grateful. My friends are wonderful.
Sunday, 11 July 2010
First issue. A while back I wrote about being broken for someone in a hopeless situation. Their life, or lack thereof, twisted up my insides so much that I wept and sang out to God like I haven't for another person in a long time. Every time I picked up the guitar, I'd sing out a song of prayer to God to release him, heal him, give him peace of mind. I told my cell group about what God was doing in me through it, how He was making me into a woman of honest prayer and passion. They (beautifully- I could not ask for better friends, even though I barely know them) offered to pray for this guy with me right there and then. For three weeks, I had been praying for him. I'd known him all my life, but only just realized how desperate his life was, how loosely he hung on to the world like rags on a skeleton. Last week he was found dead on the street. Why this happened now, I don't know. Why didn't I pray before, I don't know. Why when I'm believing for change it doesn't come in the way I'm expecting, I don't know. I've not told many people. The few I have ask me how I feel at the death of this man. All I can answer. "Confused".
And that's as far as I'm prepared to ponder that subject tonight.
Tonight I was at Philly for the first half of the service before having to leave to get the train back with Damo to Nottingham. I love Jesus and I love my church. Anyway, the smallest of phrases from the beginning of the sermon caught my heart. Anne said, "I've been following Jesus since I was 4". This made me smile. The immediate mental image of a small girl running in the shadow of her lord just a step away from her, growing in that intimacy and knowing that path, made me smile immensely. I thought, "I've been following Jesus since I was 14"..."ish". But have I? Yes, in the sense of I admitted that I believed in Him, in what He's done for me. I say, "I gave my life to Jesus", but in a lot of ways I seem to have kept a hold of it for myself. There have been some things that I've given to Him, some aspects of my life I wouldn't live out if it weren't for Him, some decisions that would be different were He not a factor (the factor). But I wonder how obvious it is that I'm following Jesus. I wonder how hot on His heels I am. Not overly. It's more like He's walking and checking back over His shoulder for me, me scampering around getting distracted by interesting toadstools and shiny objects and the like, wandering where I want really, just keeping Him in sight enough to reassure me that I'm still doing swell.
That's not good enough for me anymore. I'm quite excited about the prospect of following Jesus like a shadow, attached to His feet. I want to be open to His voice every hour, not every year when a decision has to be made. I want to answer, "because this is what God's telling me to do" when people ask me "why here?", "why now?", "why not?". I don't want it to be a mumbled last resort, grudgingly conceded. I want it to be my justification, my reassurance and my confidence. I want my life to be so strongly based on His guidance that no funny looks or sensibilities can shake my resolve. I don't want to meander casually along. I want to follow.
And finally, I found out that there are penguins in New Zealand, and thus my desire to live there has increased a good ten-fold.
Monday, 28 June 2010
1) I've been more stressed this past week than I have in a long time
2) I've been quite a grumpy git at times, and this makes me sad
3) There is a strong correlation between these things and a lack of time hanging with God
4) I really miss Him.
Don't get me wrong, I'm never far from His side these days- but tiny silly little fickle things like not having personal space or being so busy rushing around (hello Mary and Martha) or just wanting to relax...somehow persuade me away from just basking in the goodness of Jesus as much as my soul cries to do. No more please, fix my eyes on You.
I have quite a bit to say, but I have not felt this rough in a while and so really need sleep. All I will say is that after a couple of days without reading the Bible properly, dipping into Hebrews was more refreshing than cool water in the sweltering heat. How graceful, that when we turn to Him, He's been waiting, watching us the whole time, just wanting that moment when we're face to face once more. Beautiful.
Friday, 25 June 2010
That's just life.
Saturday, 12 June 2010
Anyway, it all made me think (as though this were a strategically designed exercise), about how we cling to so many things in life, and considering her original attachment to that gilded throne, how we let so many things rule us. People, money, ambition, self-interest, laziness, grades, comfort, appearance... I'm going to ponder what it is that I need to let go of right now, and get on with it.
"I have realised that I own nothing in life. Everything is a gift from God to look after and be accountable and responsible for."
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Monday, 31 May 2010
My housemate has called me a 'little ball of righteous anger'. I'm not sure what I feel about this.
The past week, my soul's been torn up, twisted with such incomprehension in the face of rubbish stuff people are going through. In some ways, it's been horrible. But it's been real. I know that God will take us at our words. If we ask for more, He will give it. I want to ask for more, and the strength to bear it. Because I want to be that intercessor, I want to stand in the gap for these people, I want to be praying God's power into their lives, but I need Him to make me able. In a time when I need to be weak, I need Him to make that weakness His strength.
Let this be the start of a great work of God. Come on Jesus, bring life.
More of You. Less of me. I am not. You are.
Sunday, 30 May 2010
Look, now He’s kneeling, He’s washing their feet! Though they’re all filthy fisherman, traitors, and thieves. Now He’s pouring his heart out and they’re falling asleep, but He has to go lower still.
(and we all said in unison...)
There is greater love to show! Hands to the plow! Further down now! Blood must flow!
All these steps are personal! All His shame is ransom!
Oh do you see? Do you see just how low He has come? Do you see it now?
No one takes from Him. You can’t take what he freely gives away...
Beat in His face; tear the skin off His back. Lower still. Lower still.
Strip off His clothes; make Him crawl through the streets. Lower still. Lower still.
Hang Him like meat on a criminal’s tree. Lower still! Lower still!
Bury His corpse in the earth like a seed, like a seed, like a seed. Lower still!
Lower still, Lower still, Lower still, Lower still.
The earth explodes, she cannot hold Him. And all therein is placed beneath Him. And death itself no longer reigns, it cannot keep the ones He gave Himself to save. And as the universe shatters, the darkness dissolves, He alone will be honored, we will bathe in his splendor as...
...All Heads Bow Lower Still! All Heads Bow Lower Still!"
Saturday, 29 May 2010
Jesus was a common name. In it's Hellenistic form: Jeshua. In the Old Testament Aramaic= Joshua. Both by common etymology mean 'Yahweh is salvation'. Yes. (I love words).
Joshua 1:1-2- "After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites"
So Joshua in the Old Testament was called to accomplish what Moses couldn't do. Seeing this as a type, a way that Jesus' life is mirrored in a way in the OT. I love it. So like Moses was leading the Israelites out of exile in Egypt...Yes, Jesus is the one who leads us out of exile for good, accomplishing what Moses couldn't, proving 'Yahweh is salvation'. Flipping good news. Down to the smallest detail God is amazing.
I think so often I want to have answers, like apologetics. I do Text-a-Toastie, and I want to have an answer. When someone asks me why there's suffering in the world, I want to tell them. I think that being a Christian, I assumed that I've got an FAQ sort of page. If I don't know, hit the doctrine, get an answer, sorted.
But lately, I just don't know. I don't understand. I DON'T GET IT.
I'm not saying that I'm doubting God. I am simply saying, that I do not understand some things. Why some people are in such hopeless situations. I trust Him enough to believe in Him and believe He knows. But I am literally burying my head in my Father's arms and screaming I don't understand. I want to weep, I feel so small and useless in the face of such things.
Friday, 21 May 2010
I've been losing motivation. ("LIT182 has stolen my soul" as I wrote on the module evaluation form).
Amidst all the rubbish essay questions to choose from on critical analysis and literary theory (both of which I detest), there's just one anomalous question on adaptation. Seriously slipped in there, not like any of the others.
Adaptation happens to be one of my passions. I love it. Directing adaptive films is one of my dream jobs.
Ah. God just knows me so well.
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Now take this harlot as Your wife.
Follow her down streets at night,
She chooses shadows, never light.
Unfaithful bride for all your life,
You cannot claim to be surprised.
You know her heart's with frailties rife,
She sees with worldly, starving eyes.
She sells that which is not her own
To those who make her less alone.
No warm embrace but only cold,
They hold her close but grasp on bones.
A hundred houses, none are homes,
In a thousand beds, she finds no love.
She wonders that she's getting old,
When she dies each time her body's sold.
A hundred houses, none are homes,
In a thousand beds, she finds no love.
She wonders that she is getting old,
When she dies each time her body's sold.
But Your grace is enough,
Where she hates, You will love.
Yes your grace is enough,
Though we hate, You still love.
You can make her brand new,
You can make us like You.
Would You make us brand new?
Would you make me like You?
Now in a hundred houses, none are homes,
But she finds her rest kneeling at Your throne.
And in a thousand beds she may find no love,
But her heart is safe in her God above.
And when she worries that she is getting old,
She knows it's one day closer to the day of the Lord.
And if she died each time that her body was sold,
Then she came to life the day that You paid it all...
I can't bear to wake up to another day of Literary Practice. I am not going to bed.
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
We fly out to Mozambique in about two and a half months. There are not yet enough funds, jabs need to be paid for, flights, everything, I don't have nearly enough yet. We need so much. It's a good job our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills...
Joy. Joy. Joy.
Mum's just brought me back to Sheffield after a flying visit home. She's given me rather a lot of food, including a whole pineapple. I didn't know where to put it, so it's just on my desk, and it gives the whole room a tropical feel. Win.
Saturday, 15 May 2010
Until they stir, miss not enough.
I miss my soul in apathy,
No point to sight with nought to see.
I miss the hurt that gets too much,
I miss the urgency it gives to us,
I miss the crying, sleepless nights,
Wrestling with my selfish pride,
I miss the sense of searing loss,
The echo of You on the cross,
I miss knowing I am very small,
Not so big to take it all,
I miss giving everything to You,
All I strive to hold on to,
I miss the point most every time,
That You've done it all to save my life,
I miss the words that kiss my soul,
'Love is stronger than dark sheol',
Never changing, whatever I feel,
I missed You once, was absence real?
A figment of my missing mind,
I look around and try to find
You but miss You standing there,
Arms outstretched with love and care,
I missed You once, was absence real?
Or was that missed just my own zeal?
Did I lose, or turn away,
Did I run when you begged stay?
Did I spit in true loves eyes,
And go in search of a greater prize?
I miss You every single day,
Hold me close and guide my way.
I woke up rhyming. In fact, I couldn't sleep last night and vaguely remember lying for about 3 hours rhyming. I wrote about three songs, but can't remember them now. But it was a good time. Apart from being very tired.
Anyway, I'm moving towards a place where I take myself less seriously, don't polish things, don't mind people seeing that I'm redrafting everyday- I could always improve, I could always get better, but if I wait until I'm perfect before I let people see- it could be a long long time (like never). Yes, I'm talking words that get written, but I think I'm more talking about the life that I'm living. Each day (each hour sometimes) is just the next draft. Less scribbling out, or at least in different places. Refine me. Yes please.
I'm sort of excited about life today. I'm not sure what it is.
What I can tell you is that God is very, very, incredibly faithful. I have job interviews. In both Sheffield and Nottingham, so all I have to do now is decide where to be this summer. How good is He though? This God who provides everything every day. He always amazes me.
Friday, 14 May 2010
As I plunge into the sea, the salt it stings
My Idol's eyes.
I've brought you so far from shore,
Sure is something I can't be that I can make it back
And as you cast me off you gain from loss,
Up sails swell from your wooden cross,
And I sink
into my sin.
And I commend you
For getting out
Before I pulled you down with me.
Monday, 10 May 2010
I was having a ponder out of my kitchen window this morning, and the radio was on. Obviously, it was politics (incidentally, my radio exposure has increased recently to include 3 hours of drum and bass whilst baking til 4am, and some old yorkshire men arguing about the existence of aliens on what I can only assume is 5live in the afternoon, and I quote, "then explain crop circles!" flawless argument as far as I can see). But yes, on this occasion it was election events.
I was thinking about the leaders, and who I'd want to run the country. The phrase 'best of a bad bunch' popped into my head. This is my take on politics generally. Nowadays I just pray for someone to be in charge that will in some way, be it deliberately (yes please) or unknowingly (I am resigned) put our nation in a position in which God's kingdom values like justice, love and grace can increase.
I was thinking about how the term politician seems to be synonymous with lies, intrigue, corruption, failure, selfish ambition, so much of the time. Things that are really, when you think about it, the exact opposites of what we would look for in a leader, were an alternative available. In my own little way, I wondered why we didn't put a civilian in power, instead of all these politicians that are intrinsically convoluted it seems. Yes, after a moment I too saw the flaw in this.
But then I wondered, why are they like that? As far as I can see, politicians are human. And we are all, at our core, imperfect. They'll always fall short, always make mistakes, but only as many as I can make in the same time. It's just that their mistakes affect perhaps more people than mine. Another thing that I think is an issue, is that even if they're not following selfish desires, problems still arise. This is because they'd be working for us, representing us, our needs, our wants, our demands. And here's the big problem. We don't even know what we want. And even if we did, we wouldn't all want the same thing. I think the election proved this adequately. And let's face the truth of life, I don't want what I need, I want what I want. Half the time, I don't have a clue what I'm lacking. Only God knows this. Yes, typically, my political views are for the kingdom of God. A friend said Jesus should be PM. I'm not sure Jesus would fit into the British political system...but I do think that He's the only perfect leader we could ever have.
Until then, David Cameron is going to have to do his best. These are scary and exciting times. I can't remember the Conservative years of my youth. I'm a clean slate, don't ruin me.
Gordon Brown resigned. I cried. I liked Gordon. At first, I thought he was dealt a rough hand and had a lot of rubbish piled on the plate set before him. Then I thought he was a bit of a joke, and never quite got it right except for giving good caption competition photos. Then I wanted to hug him. Tonight when I was listening to his speech, he started talking about how being PM was his second most important job, after being a husband and a father. Good man. I wept a little. I hope he enjoys his life. I really, really do.
Saturday, 8 May 2010
That he hath been in love an hour,
Yet not that love so soon decays,
But that it can ten in less space devour ;
Who will believe me, if I swear
That I have had the plague a year?
Who would not laugh at me, if I should say
I saw a flash of powder burn a day?
Ah, what a trifle is a heart,
If once into love's hands it come !
All other griefs allow a part
To other griefs, and ask themselves but some ;
They come to us, but us love draws ;
He swallows us and never chaws ;
By him, as by chain'd shot, whole ranks do die ;
He is the tyrant pike, our hearts the fry.
If 'twere not so, what did become
Of my heart when I first saw thee?
I brought a heart into the room,
But from the room I carried none with me.
If it had gone to thee, I know
Mine would have taught thine heart to show
More pity unto me ; but Love, alas !
At one first blow did shiver it as glass.
Yet nothing can to nothing fall,
Nor any place be empty quite ;
Therefore I think my breast hath all
Those pieces still, though they be not unite ;
And now, as broken glasses show
A hundred lesser faces, so
My rags of heart can like, wish, and adore,
But after one such love, can love no more."
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
"Awake, O Sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you".
Awake. Alive. Fully alive. I've been so half-hearted in so many ways recently. Walking dead. Come on God. Sort me out. Wake me up.
So I sleepily got in the shower. After a minute of comfortable, soothing hot water, it stopped. Just stopped. I had a choice to make, to cut my losses and get dry, or to face a torrent of freezing water to wash my hair. It woke me up for sure. I like that I had to decide to turn the cold on. Yes, my name is abi and I get my epiphanies from irregularities in my daily hygiene routine. But I think that God was reminding me that we have to choose to wake up sometimes, to step out of comfort and to be ready to suffer a little for the sake of the vision we have. A cold shower was just what I needed.
Regardless of the triviality of this morning, I'm awake.
I also made some ridiculously hilarious noises in the shower.
In other news, I don't have much food in, but I checked my balance yesterday and if I account for the rent that's going to come out in June...I have about £100 to last me until September. Except that a cheque hasn't been cashed from me yet...so -£150. I'm not worried. I'm trusting that something will come up. I know God provides amazingly and faithfully. I'm really hungry though...oops. Rice and beans diet coming up methinks.
Sunday, 2 May 2010
Today, I was discussing recent events with a wonderful person. Because to go into the specifics is beyond the bounds of privacy, modesty and comfort, I'll sub in a line from Death Cab For Cutie, which touches the theme vaguely,
"You can do better than me, But I can't do better than you".
In abi-fashion, I ripped this notion apart (always in my head). The gist of my proposition: grace is a leveler. To explain, to me there is no better and worse in people. Eyes are levelers, in a way- no matter who the person is, how they dress, how much dirt is on their face, how they smell, what they've done, what they're saying, look at their eyes, the ring of colour around a deep black hole waiting to be filled, floating in a white or jaundiced or bloodshot sea... they're just human, the same as me, you, everyone else. I love eyes for this. They say they're windows to the soul, and they are. And the soul you see has fallen short of perfection in every pair of eyes.
Nobody's perfect. We all mess up. Some of us do catastrophic things that result in the deaths of thousands of 'innocent' people. Some of us take advantage of people. Some of us hold grudges.
God's grace covers a multitude of sins. The multitude. Everything. So, if we are to see people with His perspective, we're equal. All rubbish, but all perfect, all forgiven, all clean and faultless. Grace is a leveler.
That's why to me, there's no better. There's no hierarchy. Yes, you can like people more than others, you can be attracted to some as friends and more, and not to others, but that doesn't make them better. As Thrice sing, "we are beggars all". Beggars taken in, adopted as sons, wrapped in royal robes and made equal in extravagant love as beautiful new creations. How can one be inherently better than another?
This is just about value really. I want people to know how loved they are, how much they're worth, that they don't need to compare themselves to anyone else. That is all.
All except for the things I've learnt today:
- first impressions are unreliable
- goat's cheese, like goat's milk, tastes undeniably of goat
- Ascend the Hill are one of the best worship bands around ('Fall'=beauty)
- my speakers crack every 4 seconds when the volume isn't very loud
- Jo loves Playmobil a lot
- I still cry ridiculously at 'Crash'
- 'love is not love which alters when it alteration finds'
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Yes, that's me (but don't focus on me) looking perplexed because a man in drag dressed as Princess Peach with very defined calf muscles had just sprinted past me, squealing. And yes, that is Waluigi hot on my heels. Legendary.
Monday, 26 April 2010
Challenge / Condemnation
Conviction / Comparison
I have a hoody with this word on it. I adore it because it's like being labeled. If I could have my life defined by one word, I would always pray it would be Love. Yes please.
I don't really like running with people usually...I tend to go at night when no one can see me. But something I absolutely adore about events like the half, with 5000 runners, is the atmosphere of support and encouragement, between competitors and the public. It's just lovely. I managed to find some people dressed as Mario characters, jumping around in great costumes, encouraging people and making them laugh as they ran. They made me smile so much that I decided to just stay near them the whole way round. It was great. So much fun. When I'm fit enough to do a full marathon (roll on September) I'm going to do halves and be that joyful factor for other people.
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Run Sheffield Half Marathon.
Read (5 books and 5 articles).
Finish reading...in order to
Write 2000 word essay for the following morning.
Read 'The Tempest'.
(Monday starts somewhere soon after church). This is going to hurt.
I was thinking this morning about that little visual aid where two hearts of paper are stuck together with prit-stick, and then pulled apart, making them rip a little onto each other. Then they go and stick themselves to another heart, and rip even more, until there's nothing discernibly like the original hearts left, just lots of damaged remains.
Why would you take me at my word?
Don't you know your heart is of more worth?
The world's a dangerous place. I watched a woman get pushed repeatedly to the ground last night. I watched her and a man screaming in each others' faces. I'll tell this story another time, because I might just break if I try to process it now. But isn't it sad how people hurt each other, when we're meant to be together? First thing God says is bad in the bible, "It is not good for man to be alone".
Anyway, I saw the sun rise this morning, as if to show me how it's done.
Friday, 23 April 2010
Got to a literature lecture to realise that I'd left my notebook (with 3 modules worth of notes) in the IC...so I ran round there to find it and missed King Lear by Marcus Nevitt. Then I cut my losses, got books out and headed home to read before getting the train at 4.40 to Manchester to see Joshua Radin in concert and meet some friends. Bus to train station. Sat on train. Got out book to read for essay. Quite content, waiting for the journey to begin. Sudden realisation. Gig tickets. Still on my bedroom desk. The train begins to churn into life. Whack book in bag, hope ipod stays attached purely by headphones, run. It's moving. It's an old train. I got the door open. I jumped off just before the platform disappeared. Action girl. Taxi. Flat. Tickets. Taxi. Station. Chase taxi. Retrieve cardigan. 1 minute until the next Manchester train leaves. Platform 2C. Run. Sprint. Sprint. Sprint. Jump. I am on the train. My bag is not. In a beautiful Indiana Jones-esque moment, I dived through the closing doors of the train, but my bag remains on the outside. I am stuck. Pulled through by charming gentleman.
Muppet. I need to stop losing things.
The gig was okay.
I think I'd like to live in Dore, Hope (how lovely to say "I live in Hope"), or the place beginning with G that I've forgotten in between them, at some point. And I am craving the peaks.
Anyway, God's good.
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
I'm not sure where to start with this. I suppose yesterday will do. I had the privilege of running across Dave Saxton in Coffee Rev in the union at around 8 minutes past 12. This obviously lit up my day. I then, conscious of the vastness of workloads to be faced in the day, purchased a brie panini for lunch. I explained to Dave that I would take it upstairs to the gallery, where there are usually fewer people, and fewer windows visible from outside. I went upstairs. Joyfully I spotted two more wonderful people, waved, passed them, headed to the secluded area, but it was full. Someone on every table. I bottled it. I left the gallery. I re-entered and tried again. I walked round the room, past empty chairs, and back out with a sigh. I returned, gave Andy Acheson my panini and sat down to read. I'd been up working since 5am. I'd consumed a piece of toast at 6.30am. I was weak and shaky from lack of sleep. I then didn't eat until 7pm when I was forced to by someone I trust.
Some reading this may know the reasons for this behaviour. Shock horror, since I was about 13 I've been really frightened of eating in public. Today is a day of change and thus honesty is only appropriate, because I want people to know what's changing and why. Basically, I was slightly chubby as a teenager. Not awfully so, but enough to make me feel self-conscious. I've never been drastically bullied about it. A few names here and there. I always laughed it off, especially when mum would make comments (she calls me 'biscuit face'). She doesn't mean it harshly really. I hope. Anyway, it progressed. I stopped eating at school. I'd throw my lunch away. At college I just didn't buy anything for the first year. I wanted no connection to be made between myself and food, as if I could make people believe that I in fact never ate, and thus could not physically be overweight. Eventually I became comfortable enough with about 3 friends that I could eat a small lunch at college. On my own, I failed miserably. I once tried to overcome it in my own strength, bought a panini on the day when all my friends were away over lunch...but I ended up hiding in the toilets. This is not dignified, this is not proud. Oh, it'll be interesting to see if I publish all of this.
Needless to say, the same continued. At uni I forced myself to eat in the kitchen for the first few weeks, with these new (lovely) housemates I didn't yet know. I would not let them know what issue I had. So I did it. Cooked. Ate. Washed up. Then casually walked back into my bedroom, shut the door and cried.
Some days were better. I could manage a sandwich at lunch if I went to a park away from the busy, people-filled concourse. Some foods, too, were better. Lettuce, sushi, anything obviously healthy. But not anything that draws attention - therefore apples, spaghetti and anything repetitive like crisps were off the cards.
This all sounds quite crazy. It's really not as strange as it sounds. I was just really self-conscious, nervous, frightened of being judged. What is weird is that people are allowed to feel that way- what kind of society gives off threats of judgment based on appearance? I am sorry for my part in it and for crediting it enough to let it affect me too.
So yes. That explains the events that transpired and resulted in Andy getting a panini. I hope he was blessed by it regardless of its origin!
So, I've been pondering recently. This year so far has brought me so much closer God, which is beautiful. I've been challenged to start living out what I know. Not rules and regulations, but relationship and identity. God's love is so vast and multi-dimensional and extravagant. He's king and father and bridegroom and brother and friend and servant and judge and defence...it could go on. It will. But, what does that make me? Loved. Saved. Adopted. Betrothed. Beloved. Daughter. God wants to be close! I can't understand how He feels about me. Perfect love full of endless grace.
Jesus prayed this: "I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." (John 17:23). God says He loves us the same as He loves Jesus. He wants to be that close. Mental. So it seemed to be worth looking into what implications this has. Who am I in God? This is a big subject (even though I am so very small). I guess this'll be covered in a few blogs at various points as I try to wrap my tiny head around the most epic thing in existence. For now, I'll just say that this book, and this verse, has been following me around for a while now, quite blatantly. Song of Songs (yes!) 4:7- "All beautiful you are, my darling. There is no flaw in you".
First, "no flaw"- we're perfect. Sinless through Jesus, unstained, unblemished. And I like the idea that God thinks we're beautiful. He made us, he'd know. People know that I've been ill for a little while now...mysteriously. In the weeks preceding my scan last week, this verse was whispered to me so much. Being aware of the chance of there being something wrong with my body was really disconcerting. It made me feel a little like damaged goods. But God gave me this verse. There are no mistakes. There is no blemish. However I am, it's a beautiful creation because that's what comes when you have beautiful creator that has the ridiculous idea of making you in His own image.
Anyway. To explain why this is connected to my fear of eating. I was thinking about marriage (another time, I'll expand. I don't like to dwell on it but I love thinking about it). And about having kids (my own, fostered, adopted, who knows), and bringing them up. I can't wait. I absolutely adore my family. I love them like crazy. They're not Christians. I pray they will get to know the God I know. Something my heart burns for since finding Jesus, is having a family of myself, my husband, our kids, and Jesus being at the heart of us, our house, our lives and relationships. I can't describe how much I desire this. I was thinking how some of my friends have such similar giftings and spiritual characteristics to their parents, joyfully. Then I thought, if I'm given the honour of bringing up men and women for God, would I be happy if they were similar to me? Obviously not in every way, they'll be their own people, unique and amazing. But something that I felt really strongly was that they must know that they're perfect and all beautiful. And I will live that truth in my life so that they'll have a better chance of knowing it in theirs. My daughters will grow up knowing that they are flawless. My sons will know that they are accepted.
Outside the family too, I should point out. As someone who knows the flipping amazing good news that Jesus has saved us, I want to proclaim his love and acceptance and freedom to everyone I meet, in my words and in my actions. Let's live this love. Let people see the changes.
Therefore, I'm so done with this fear. Perfect love drives it out, after all. So, with the help of God, if anyone wants to go out for a meal, do it. I guess I should selfishly ask too- forgive me. Don't judge me for the mistakes I've made or the way I've been- celebrate with me that I'm not that girl any more.
This is not my usual kind of post. There's more to say, but this is mammoth long already, and I still need to read for a seminar in 7 hours.
So yes. Thanks Jesus. You change lives. They change others. Yes please.
Monday, 19 April 2010
I adore the fact that I'm sat in my room at quarter past twelve at night working on an essay that many people would tell me is very important and I'm alone and there's no music on and I'm just overwhelmed to the point of tears because He's all we need and He loves and He saves and He delights. Moments like this are perfect. Moments like this are when God is genuinely meeting with us where we are.
Here is a song. I like it. When it kicks off, 'the drop' as Club One would proclaim when teaching 11year olds to rave, my word it's glorious. I play this on the guitar and once I start I often won't stop for some 20 minutes. Bask in His presence, ask for it, enjoy it. Because you know, He does.
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
I was told by someone that if I needed anything afterwards they'd be there. They're not, and this makes me sad.
Alas. Never mind.
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Anyway, in the shower this morning, God spoke to me, which is always great. He challenged me to think through the miracles I know Jesus to have done, which obviously is a few in the gospels probably adding up to about 10 days out of 3 years of ministry. I know so little. He's done a lot. He's still doing them today. Anyway, I was thinking about a friend I talk about this kind of stuff with, who is cynical about God healing when medicine could do the trick. Or about God doing smaller stuff, like caring about study grades or providing opportunities to reduce spending at the store by placing offers ahead. This does sound silly in some ways. But I was pondering, and have decided that God's really big. Like, ridiculously, and He's more powerful than I know. Not only that, that's not good enough, He's not more powerful than I know, He's perfectly powerful. There isn't any hint of a lack of power in Him. He can do literally anything. This means that He has the perfect perspective. Whereas we see things in this hierarchy of importance, God doesn't need to.
At New Wine, I'm always knocked off my feet by the faith of the kids I work with. It's so humbling. Indescribably so, it's such an honour and blessing. I see why Jesus loved children and said we should have faith like them. It's honest and innocent, untainted by cynicism that experience pretends to demand in us. Verrucas are not glamorous, but when you see 8 year olds gathered around shouting because they've just seen some disappear on a friend they're praying for, it makes you think. They don't see their problems as too small for God. They pray with such such passion for a sore throat to be taken away, and would pray with that same passion to see someone raised from the dead. Because they haven't been told that God's not as big as they think yet. He can do it. They ask. And they receive!
Jesus knows how we think. Look at Mark, when He forgives the sins of the paralytic man and nobody believes He could possibly do that. So He heals the man physically too, because if He has the power to do one, He has the power to do another. How often do we doubt God's power? Sorry, do I doubt God's power? I don't honestly even know if that's the problem. I think I know God can do anything. After all, He forgave all the rubbish I do, which is no mean feat. And He has defeated death. And He has healed. And He has calmed storms just by telling them to "be quiet". I believe all this. I think the problem is that we question whether He wants to do these things for us now.
There isn't one occasion (as far as I know) in the gospels of Jesus refusing or failing to heal somebody (excepting Jairus' daughter...who He does then raise from the dead so I think can be let off). Jesus was filled with compassion. His life and His death screamed it. Look at God, look at His character, and it's constantly one that loves His people with unquenchable love. He sent His son to die a terrible death for us, so that we could know Him. Why, oh why, would He do that if He didn't love us? There's no question. So, when we go to pray for stuff, I'd like to remember more how much He's given us already. He's generous. And if He can do all of that, healing a burnt finger or caring about how we feel, is not outrageous, except for the fact that He's ridiculously good.
I think in my mind I have this list of things that God can do, with the hardest at the top and the little things at the bottom.
- Forgive the whole world [including me]
- Resurrect people
- Remove someone's cancer
- Keep a car running on £5 worth of petrol for 9 months
- Make me bump into someone beautiful on the way to a lecture when I feel rubbish
- That top you can't justify buying in Whistles for £30 being in Oxfam for £3
- Get rid of a toothache
But considering that God is all powerful and can thus do anything with no variation of effort (I sometimes imagine He's got a certain amount of miracle power each day or something, and has to allocate it accordingly), He has no reason for a list like this. As far as He's concerned, we're either asking for His help or we're not. We're either opening our lives to His incredible love and power, or we're not. Why live with this hierarchy, choosing to try and battle all those below number 3 on our own, when we've got a God who died on a cross just so that we could live in the fulness of life that relationship with Him allows? I don't think He would then go for the showy miracles, like some A-list celebrity who only does the prestigious chat shows. He will raise from the dead and He will make the sun shine on a lake just as you look at it because He knows it makes you smile and think of Him.
Having said all of this, case in point, I think I need to ask more. I know I need to pray more. I know there's a whole incredible inheritance that I'm not claiming right now. And I know God's dying to show His powerful love in this world through the big and the small.
There is the question, then, of why prayers for healing aren't granted. People ask me why He answers some prayers and not others. I believe He answers all, "yes", "no" or "wait". I don't know why some people are healed and others aren't, why some are raised from the dead and others aren't, why some people feel despair and never get out of it, why situations don't always get better as soon as we start praying. I just don't know. I do know that God has a plan, and it is perfect, and in all these situations, He is in control, knows what He's doing more than we could, is just, and He works them for good. It's our job to ask, and trust, and listen.
This is really long! I'm so sorry. I was just thinking.
I've just watched a video about Haiti, one of the poorest, most devastated nations. About how in February this year, amidst the rubble and starvation and death, the president called for 3 days of fasting and prayer, and the people came and cried out to God. How amazing is that? Such hope. Apparently there were 3000 recorded cases of people giving their lives to Christ in those 3 days. And 101 of them were voodoo priests previously.
And earlier (this does not flow) I went for a run. I got lost. I ended up running through a bad area, with lots of sirens. It was dark. I didn't want to go back through that area, so I kept going, and then the pavement disappeared and I was in pitch black woods. Then I got really scared (I am scared of woods at night) and I jumped out of the woods (about 5 metres above the road) into a main road, and sprinted across 4 lanes of traffic to get away from them. Scarier areas followed. I cried. I prayed lots. And I realised that with all of the stupid things I do in my life, I should, by rights, have died about 15 times over. But I haven't, which means there is still more for me to do. So I'm going to go and get on with it.
Monday, 12 April 2010
On the brightside- today I was wandering around uni in my free hour, and bumped into many beautiful people which made me smile lots. And I've made a friend in the organic food shop...which is strange.
Thursday, 8 April 2010
She wisheth port, where, riding all at ease,
She may repair what stormy times have worn,
And, leaning on the shore, may sing with joy
That pleasure follows pain, and bliss annoy.
Possession of thy love is th'only port
Wherein my heart, with fears and hopes long tossed,
Each hour doth wish and long to make resort,
There to repair the joys that it hath lost,
And, sitting safe, to sing in Cupid's quire
That sweetest bliss is crown of love's desire."
And then hold me, hold me here in Your arms until I start to cry because I WANT TO CRY but I just can't seem to do it on my own...I've been teary eyed once recently but not even enough for a drip down my cheek.
There's just hurt in my soul which needs to be purged so hold me here in this hugging pose until the pain is flowing from my eyes and nose".
Anyway, back to reading. I'm locked in my room because I'm scared of being in the apartment alone. No one else is back from the Easter break yet.
Monday, 5 April 2010
Other than that, I can't breathe, and I'm trying to fail quietly so that mum won't wake up and ask me why I can't breathe and expect me to answer whilst trying to breathe. Lungs eh.
Anyway, when I was little, there is no way to link this to anything so don't get excited, when I was little, I loved colour. I still do. I especially loved highlighter pens, because the colour was more vibrant than my regular felt tips. One day, my parents came upstairs to find their magnolia (always magnolia) bedroom...jaundiced somewhat. Florescent yellow higlighter pen had been used on the walls, the numbers of the phone, the stripes in the radiator... when asked about the source of this neon wonder, I did the only reasonable thing at four years old and sharply identified my brother Tristan as the culprit. I don't know if it was the guilt in my eye or the fact that I'd drawn around my reflection in their mirror, but my lies were not swallowed. I can't remember how I was punished, or how they got it all back to magnolia, but I can remember that mum didn't let me have highlighters for literally years.
The point is, that I am an English Literature and History student and sometimes I have to highlight things gosh darn it. But every time I pick up a highlighter I remember kneeling under the windowsill and improving the radiator. What's worse than highlighters is black marker pens. Sharpies! My word. There is nothing like a clean and new black marker. Now, if I am bored and a pen is to hand, I literally throw it across the room to remove the temptation. It's not that I get weird urges to draw on my legs normally, just if the temptation is there. So it gets lobbed.
What I'm stupidly skirting around is that I'm thinking about temptations and vices and where to put them. When I revise for exams, I get distracted by my guitar. So I put it in the corner. I find myself playing it five minutes later. I shut it in the bathroom. I soon find myself admiring the acoustics of the bathroom. I resort to putting it under my bed, because I fear going in my bed because I always drop the lid and nearly break my arm. Some things need to be not only put down, but thrown as far as possible. Some things need to be put places that we can't see them. I'm often amazed at how far my body will go when it wants something. I decide not to buy biscuits at uni so that I won't snack and become a circle. But you know, if I fancy a biscuit, I will apparently walk to the store at 2 am in pouring rain for a pack of cruddy digestives. I cannot be trusted. My right hand doesn't know what the left is up to, and the left is up to something that's going to get it chopped off one of these days. So there's a thought. Wouldn't it be so easy if life were that simple, if something causes trouble you just threw it away, without affecting anything else? Yes it would. But it's not.
And I think some complications are on the way. Typical really.
Saturday, 3 April 2010
At one point tonight, I had to pass a group of 'youths' who started running ahead of me, hilariously. Two dropped off soon enough but one boy ran alongside me, laughing...we had a chat, I asked him if he'd like to run the whole ten miles with me, and he too slowed very soon. I felt like Eddie Izzard but less fit and not nearly as adept at walking in heels. Then at one point a man was cycling in the other direction to me on b*stard road, and I prepared myself for some lewd remark. He shouted "respect to you" which made me smile on many levels. The second was most fun. Anyway, the point is, it's these random nice people and moments (like the man who stared at me crossing the road then smiled in a really lovely way from his car when he realised, or the man who shouted "have some motivation dear!" from his doorway) which make my day beautiful.
And now there are brothers around, 1020 calories to regain, a bit of Del Toro's finest work to date on TV...it is a good night.
Friday, 2 April 2010
"The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair" ~ Relient K, 'Be my Escape'.
“From childhood we are taught how to succeed in the world of ungrace. “You get what you pay for.” “The early bird gets the worm. “No pain, no gain.” I know these rules well because I live by them. I work for what I earn; I like to win; I insist on my rights. I want people to get what they deserve.
The more I reflect on Jesus’ parables proclaiming grace, the more tempted I am to apply the word atrocious to describe the mathematics of the gospel. I believe Jesus gave us these stories to call us to step completely outside our tit-for-tat world of ungrace and enter into God’s realm of infinite grace.
If I care to listen, I hear a loud whisper from the gospel that I did not get what I deserved. I deserved punishment and got forgiveness. I deserved wrath and got love. I deserved debtor’s prison and got instead a clean credit history. I deserved stern lectures and crawl-on-your knees repentance. Instead, I got a banquet spread for me.” ~ Philip Yancey,"What's so Amazing about Grace?"
It's completely ridiculous. It's prodigal to the point of hilarity. It's extravagant and unreasonable. The maths of grace is all wrong. What an impossible, nonsensical and beautiful God.
It's true that it's done. It's finished. Love hung on a tree to pay the price for my sins, your sins, all sin in all of time, so that we could come before God perfect and blameless, not to beg for undeserved mercy but to thank Him that He already gave it. Not as slaves but as beloved sons. I could sing of this forever. I don't deserve it.
(Interestingly, I was born on Good Friday 1991).
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Sunday, 28 March 2010
The support were two-fold. First was Deaf Havana, a post-hardcore band from Norfolk of all places. They weren't bad, definitely...I liked their voices together. But the second support, Moneen, were lovely. Absolutely bouncing, so full of energy and obviously just happy and excited to be playing music. I loved it. Especially after the lead singer (and guitarist) and another guitarist entered the crowd, singer drumming with sticks on everything in sight, walking along the bar, the guitarist bringing a drum and placing it at random points in the crowd and playing there for a while. It was just beautifully friendly and inclusive, joyful and quirky. I expected nothing less when they said they were from Canada. Happy days.
So that was all very beautiful. I love music.
This morning I visited T-street and saw my good friend. There were twins being dedicated and the boy was hilariously beautiful because he just looked terrified at the world and everything around him. He made me smile. What else made me smile was a woman who was asked to share a testimony. She got up there, in front of 300 odd people, and began to sing, "all glory to God, not to me, all glory to God"...slowly, passionately, brokenly. Musically, she was completely out of tune. But if you ask me she was unbelievably in tune and perfect harmony. It was incredible, and I wish I and a generation around me could sing like that every day. She then shared that she had had a scan at the hospital (the same scan I am to have in a few weeks) and had been given bad news. She had gone home. She and her family had prayed and fasted. A word was given to the congregation last week that something troubling somebody had been lifted clean away. She went back for a follow up scan, prayed that it would not only be harmless but gone completely in the name of Jesus. The doctors were amazed. No sign anything had ever been wrong. This is our God. My favorite phrase, "I accept your diagnosis...but I refuse to accept your prognosis". Yes.
All in all, it's a really sunny day. I got off the bus early and walked through the park singing, because I like it. I ran to the lake because it was windy and the waves made me happy. I sat on a tree to watch the ducks and got my foot stuck in a root, panicked, dropped my phone inside the tree trunk and was scared that a rabid weasel might eat my hand when I tried to fish it out. It didn't.
Tomorrow is my birthday. I have [nearly] reached 19 years. Who would've thunk it.
Smiles all round.