Binoculars

I left church today feeling really down. A mixture of exhaustion and hormones, threatening to push tears over the brink of my tired eyes. My baby girl snuggled close asleep in a sling – and needing some head space, I opted to get the train home to let her sleep, whilst my hubby drove home with Grace. I picked up a mocha from Costa, sat on the cold, rigid seats on platform 2 at Guildford station, trying to hold back the threatening sobs and my rising sense of panic at being caught so vulnerable in public. 

I look up postnatal depression on my phone. Deciding to text a dear friend to ask for prayer, my battery dies. Internally screaming, I shout to God, “Okay, what now? I need you.”

To my left, I notice a lady 30+ years my senior who makes friendly conversation about my sleeping babe. She has a pair of binoculars around her neck and I venture to ask her what she’s on the look out for. She’s on her way to a guided archeological walk – apparently they’re good for bird spotting. I tell her I’m currently obsessed with a programme called Time Team, turns out she is too. We unashamedly admit to each other that we frequently watch the same episode more than once. We lament about lead archaeologist Mick’s sad passing a few years ago. We get on the train, we chat some more. We get onto the topic of Alpha and church.

I get off the train, having momentarily forgotten my dilemma and start wondering if I’d missed saying something that God might have wanted to say to this lovely lady. Gently, the Holy Spirit dropped a sparkling thought into my stilled heart, God wasn’t looking for me to do anything, He just wanted to be my comforter. To provide the answer to my silent panicked heavenward shouts. 

Of all the people that could sit next to me, at that moment, it’s a lovely lady called Gwyneth who shares my random love of an obscure programme about archeology. My God, who knows me and sees me and loves me, orchestrated a very specific conversation just to cheer me up. My Father God cares for me. I just wish I could tell her how God used her to calm the heart of a daughter that He dearly loves. 

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Fear vs Hope

You know when you realise you’ve wasted half your life on misguided fear

Like a drunken misadventure and you’ve become aware far too late, that this person you’re cosying up to in the corner, you wouldn’t have touched with a barge pole if sober

Had you seen with clear eyes that this affair with fear was only going to leave you out in the cold, identity clouded and searching for your soul

Too many times I let your interest define me, your disinterest define me

Wasn’t taught to value me, was only mocked and disciplined for who others moulded me to be

You bartered for my sexuality like I was yours to buy, only children caught in an adults game

But it’s not charades, it’s not pretending when you touched me like you owned me and sent fear into the very heart of me

And I learnt that attention from boys, attention from men equalled desirability

So I laughed off education, surrendered to depression and defined my life by sexual admiration

All the while fear crept in, it kept me caged, it kept me in and I never explored or had adventures with people or stories that fed my soul

Fed it with hope, fed it with joy, fed it with possibility

And even though I know there is freedom from fear, still I struggle daily

Don’t want to let those ugly moments define and chain me

Want to be able to see a clean page free from insecurity

So every day in some small way I stand defiant of all that fear

Fear that I’ve wasted it all and it’s way too late to live my life with eyes that see and a heart that hopes

I look in the mirror and see who God sees, a miracle, a life, purpose in living

I will not be defined by the ghosts of the past, I’ll be defined and changed by truth and love

Arms Around You

I’ve seen life depart

I’ve mopped up my own blood from my womb that contained lives that barely flickered and then were gone

I’ve seen days so darkened with depression I’ve nearly lost the will to live

Your pain may be so much worse

Your struggle so intense you don’t know how you continue to hold on

Your eyes may have seen horrors no eyes should see

But I know a man whose sincere friendship has kept my heart secure

Turn your eyes and heart to Jesus and let His peace surround you in your storm

Breathe deep, don’t rush

The lover of your soul sits by you

Arms around you

He’ll never depart from you

There is no road too rocky

No hole too dirty

He is not ashamed to sit beside you

His love will save you

Try Again

Back again
To watch and wait
The blurry screen that dictates
My fear that I have hoped in vain

Hope isn’t a road to victory
But it sustains the heart in battle
To give it up is to succumb to panic

As I wait I hope
Perhaps this is not all in vain
Might there still be a beating life
Fighting to stay
Desperate for a safe place
But I cannot guarantee the safety of that place
This vessel that works and breaks without reason or warning
I can only hope that this time it ticks without stopping…

Tick tock
The clock has stopped
Blurry screens free of that rhythmic beat
Time now means a different thing
Waiting to pass away what couldn’t stay
This path a bit more worn as we tread it once again

Similar and different to so many stories
Common ground with varying degrees of acceptance and agony
Where hearts mend and break

Sleep now, rest your soul
Tomorrow the sun will rise and you’ll still be alive
To hope and dream and try again

Riding the Storm

Just like every situation where you feel the brokenness of the grave

Like the moon pushes the tides in and out, you cry and laugh in equal amounts and the world looks on and thinks you’ve lost your mind 

But how else do you cope with the blows of nature’s hammer, but to ride out into the storm and feel the battering and breathe in when calm comes and then to let your face be whipped by the falling rain and still come out in the peace again

Your Love Still Sings In Me

Life is different now 

It’s quiet and noisy in ways that it wasn’t before

Windows frame stories differently too

Not quite the same comings and goings

Doors shut in strange ways

The kettle boils less

The steady shouts for cups of tea only echo through the kitchen 

I wonder if I drink it more now out of sentimentality  

Still, joy streams through the home

Every so often, sadness wafts in

It’s just part of our life now 

So much the same, but so different without the familiarity of you intermingled

Missed always but in a way always here

In the laughs 

In the fights

In the dreaming

In the hoping

You still stay with me and I know my heart lives because you did

None of this would be without you and in that I know, death is not victorious 

The thief has not stolen everything 

The sting is tempered by how your love still sings in me

Stephen Fry, I Don’t Know Why but I’ve Seen Enough

I am a follower of Jesus, however frustrating I find it that I am greeted by silence to the many questions that haunt me. But I’ve seen enough of God’s power, enough of God’s love in this life to know, that whilst I am now disatisfied with not understanding, one day I will be fully satisfied and my questions will no longer be a thorn in my side.

I have had my own share of struggle, I know others who’ve had more than a portion of pain to cope with, but yet our choice is not easy. Our broken hearts do not dictate our belief in our God.

I’ve seen the sick healed, I’ve seen the shattered restored and I cannot fathom why some prayer is answered and some is not. There are many things in this universe so far beyond the grasp of my mind, that my personal lack of understanding, is not reason enough to make me unsee what I’ve seen and unknow the little I do know and turn a blind eye to the answers that have come.

We can only know so much and then comes a choice of faith. I choose Jesus because He was radically forgiving and merciful. I choose Him because He chose me first. I choose Him because centuries on I see the power of His sacrifice in so many, including in my own life.

So no, I have no answers to your whys or mine. But I have had some answers, I’ve had some understanding and that some is enough for me to say yes to a man who loves me and you, more than we will ever be loved by another.