Wednesday, 31 March 2010


“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

Sunday, 28 March 2010


Last night I joined about a hundred other people in the Rescue Rooms of Nottingham (my first time) to see Emery live. They were phenomenal. Amazing! I've liked them for about 5 years, and haven't seen them before. So good, so worth the wait. I was stood with a friend at the very front, so I could see everything (which is a new experience for my short self at a gig). No quality lost from studio to stage. Still beautiful layering of incredible, most incredible voices. I loved the passion, because there was just so much of it. Emery lyrics are some that have spoken to me often over the past 5 years...they're one of the bands that I retreat to when something big happens. Some of the songs last night brought so much up and I was just really grateful to be allowed to share the music with those who had written it. Beautiful. And absolutely joyful was Josh Head's dancing, twirling the microphone...he really had some surprisingly funky moves, there's no other way to describe it- he moonwalked. Joy! And they were all lovely guys. They connected with the crowd, cracked some jokes, and stuck around to chat to people afterwards. I asked for Toby and Josh's autographs, although I don't really like the concept of autographs- I just felt I should say something more than all I wanted to, which was merely 'thankyou' in mass quantities. So that was nice. Favourite songs, Ponytail Parades (yes!-the song that caught me 5 years ago and still makes me cry sometimes), Fractions "I wanted to mean everything to you, but this isn't right. You keep coming back disassembled and I keep losing this fight", The Smile, the Face...Listening to Freddie Mercury "We are all the same people. With sinning hearts which make us equal"...I honestly loved them all- great gig. So beautiful.

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.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Mad Hatter.

"Down here we got our act clean yesterday, and we plan to start getting our act clean tomorrow, but we never clean up our act today."

~The Red Queen.

Why do I always wait? At the risk of sounding dark, why live in a dirty act? What makes the half-life so much more appealing than cleaning it up and really living?

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Scans and tea.

No, I do not know how I was made.
Foundations laid are underground and I
Build up, up. My tower sways, west to east,
In the south wind; it sings
My accolade. Deafening praise
Let it rise and swell-
Until the south winds fall and the north rise up-
Tales of my glory let it tell.
And when it mumbles, tripped
By my stumbling gait cry
Wait! As my tower sways
As my tower sways east to west and bricks
Rain down and splinters dig from
This rough wood crown and I,
Usurper rightly overthrown, in the
Rubble stands my stolen throne.
Then I, king Beggar with nought to claim
But in ruins just foundations remain-
No, I do not know how I was made.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Like thread.

It has been a while. I feel as if there's probably a lot to explain, as though there's some agenda I'm following. How bizarre.

First, I suppose, is a story of how God works through everything, even when we don't realise it (which for me is most of the time) to fulfill His plan for our lives.

So, on my heart for years now has been this longing to share love with people. Here, there, UK, abroad. The more I get to know God, the more my heart is burdened with the beautiful weight of His. I've often thought of going abroad on a short term mission- not only the past few summers, but few people know I strongly considered leaving for Africa instead of taking up my place at college. It's quite common knowledge that I came ridiculously close to a gap-year involving mission abroad before university too. I love God, people and the world. They're all incredible. But in the past, these considerations, when put to prayer, have been stamped by God, "wait". Frustrating, but each time that which I took up in the UK instead was integral to the building of relationships and faith. When I conceded (for I am so stubborn), and came to uni, I felt that this was the year. Finally. I was meant to be in Sheffield, and the past had been leading to this. Getting here was fulfillment. Phase one as it were. Obviously this was for a purpose, but I can't divulge this yet, because it's not all clear to me yet, but it's all exciting. God's got it all going off.

But yes, once I was in Sheff, and roots were in September trusted to be put down eventually, I felt it time to make plans for the next summer and God no longer said "wait" but "go". I would get abroad, show love and serve, and grow in God. So I decided to go to Namibia. I know an organization out there that took over from YFC Namibia and I would stay at the orphanage I have connections with and serve in their "choose to wait" ministries and with the local kids. I was excited.

But then, a change came in the situation, and to all extents and purposes, I freaked. This change made me doubt my own heart, and as a result I became scared that although my motives had been pure and Jesus-focussed in the beginning, that developments would change them to more selfish ones. That I would go with my mind conscious of keeping up with other people, sort of along the same line of "God points", not wanting to fall behind in the stats of service and experience, that I would become more concerned about what certain other people thought of me going out than I was about the mission itself. I would not go if this was the case. How could I? Motives had to be right.

So I put the application on hold. I should point out that this all happened the day I was going to book flights to Windhoek Namibia. I put it all down, laid it all down and asked God to sort me out. To humble me and turn my face to His. So I took a few weeks, praying, trying to get my heart in the right place. To focus completely on God and serving Him and others. I couldn't make any decision until this was the case. Only when I felt at peace with the whole thing, that I was going to serve, that it didn't matter who else was doing what, that God was the only thing my eyes were set on, did I make any firm decision on Namibia. It wasn't ideal. I'd be alone, when a team would have been much safer and provide a more wholesome experience...but I trusted God would provide that and protection within the orphanage.

However. God works in amazing ways. And the day after I felt my heart was firmly on track, I went for coffee with my cell leader, who, after hearing a flippant mention of my Namibia plans, asked me if I'd like to go to Mozambique instead with some students from church. It had been organised a while, but he said he could try to get me on. I said yes please. Am I sure I don't want to go alone? Yes, quite- I was terrified alone. The timing was perfect. Absolutely. I realise now that God had to let me go with my own plan for a little bit, had to get me to go through that phase of preparing my heart in terms of leaving and not being affected by other things, get my motivation right...before He could put this opportunity in front of me. Otherwise, I would have just had to leave it because I wouldn't be able to seek Him alone.

So that's long. But it's exciting and comforting. He's got it all sorted and we don't even know it most of the time.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Dull ache.

It seems, that I'm going to Mozambique.

Today has been too long and too hard to order in my mind right now; but it'll come, and when it does, I know it will speak of God being amazing.

He's very good.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Thankyou Mr Alien.

What a day.

Church was great this morning- I love the morning service with all the kids running around. I like it when there's a baby looking over their father's shoulders a few rows in front giving me an excuse to make silly faces throughout the preach. One of the most beautiful moments was when it was time to respond, and a woman left her young son in order to go to the front... He just looked hopefully at her. Eventually, he took her hand and they both trotted off to kneel in front of the cross together. I welled up. Love it.

It's not been a good day mystery illness-wise...but it's okay. I was slow walking to church, and a man started talking to me in the dodgy area, and I knew that because I felt so rough, I wouldn't be able to escape as easily as usually I'd be confident of doing. So instead we talked for fifteen minutes. He tried to make me get in his van. When will I learn? I hate that I'm learning to be cynical. Realistic, perhaps. My problem in the past is not that I've been naive- I'm well aware that some people have dark intentions- but I have hope in people I guess. I'd rather give them the benefit of the doubt. But now I'm learning. I did not get in his van. Or give him my number. And I probably won't call his. Sad times.

And I've just been at the first of 3 beautiful gigs of March. Newton Faulkner, supported by Charlie Winston. Too tired to do them justice right now, but it was stunning. I've never laughed in joy so much at a gig. I know that my heart is for free, soulful music, pure expression. And fun, pleasure in doing it and sharing it. Perfect. It made me feel lighter. Happy days. And we, being hardcore, took brioche to a gig. I love Jo Beedell.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


A thousand times you've lied
Yet I'm still surprised.

I have absolutely no problem in talking to people. I love it. I'm content to stand in front of 400 people and speak. I'm happy to chat with a stranger I meet on the street. These things don't phase me! But regardless, when I speak, be it doing a reading or teach at church, or answer a question in a seminar of 10 people, my body freaks, and for ten minutes after my legs will shake uncontrollably. It's quite amusing really. A completely physical reaction to something I don't even feel emotionally.

My body and my mind aren't communicating right now. In my heart I'm at peace with the fact that God is completely sovereign, that His plan is perfect and mine is hypothetical. I know how amazing He is, what He can do (which is even more than I recognise). But my body chooses to disagree, to panic and stress, to feel sick with nerves, to shake and falter. Get in line body, come on. It's like watching people freak out before an exam that you're completely calm's just surreal and hard to understand and take seriously.

My priorities have been made quite clear to me this week.

And there are some things that I thought everyone knew, but it turns out they don't. And when I think that by these things I see the world, I wonder at how people see where they're going. I can't fathom it. I guess that's a symptom.

You try to teach me,
Let me learn.

We will be the hopeful.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Love isn't made.

Well. Saturday entailed Besom with the students at church. Fun times, amazing people, beautiful to show God's love without pulling out the theology so much, and most incredible was Jesus quite literally setting the captives free. We (2 of 4 groups) went and painted rooms in a family's house. I got paint pretty much everywhere. In my hair. Pear. My running trousers are now covered in "wellbeing" green. I am not altogether adverse to this.

Yesterday I was so exhausted from the past week, having been running around a lot and not sleeping fantastically (or at all) that I overslept and missed church. Gutted. I don't usually go in the mornings at the moment, but I had intended to. But last night was really lovely. Creative worship with cluster. It felt nice to play with charcoal again. My word I love art. I need to find the time.

And today was the fateful trip to the doctors. Put off repeatedly over the past 5 months. Even last week when I booked it, more obstacles were put in my way. Hilariously petty. Anyway, I went, (I wished someone had gone with me), God was amazing. The doctor was the nicest one I've ever been to. She said we'd have to do blood tests (I really wished someone had gone with me) and I thought "great, it's taken me 5 months to get this appointment, another doesn't bode well". But I went to the reception and she said one had come free just 15 minutes away. Provision! Then the nurse was lovely too. She asked me if I was okay about blood and all I could think of was how my brother fainted when he had a jab once, woke up, saw it again and fainted again. So I just giggled. I'm fine with that stuff. I was amazed when I saw it. The body is incredible really. She saw me staring and asked if I was okay, and I replied "yes! just really relieved that it came out red". Anyway, she filled a vial. I thought this looked like a lot of blood for the purposes. Then she filled another. And another. I'm quite certain I needed some of that. Also, it turns out that my veins aren't amazing for shooting up, so hardcore drugs are no longer a practical temptation, so that's a weight off my mind.

All in all, life's good. I'm tired. I have a violent play to read. It is called Volpone. I think that "Volpone" sounds like a good name for a dragon, and thus imagine the main character to be a dragon. They are not supposed to be, but my play is better.

Today I wrote a letter to a stranger, and gave them chocolate.

And I pondered the old question of integrity. Is it about what we do, or what others perceive us to do?