This is one of my own pictures. I find this tree very meditative. Contemplating creation makes me feel closer to God.
My ex seems a lot happier in his life now. I put this down to him being in a happier, healthier relationship (I assume) and he has a great job.
I want him to be happy – but I want ME to be happy too. I’m not wholly unhappy but I am going through a lot of pain and trauma. There’s no getting away from that, though. If you don’t go through it, I believe it comes out in other ways, further down the line.
It hurts that he has found happiness through leaving me. Yeah, it does.
This made me laugh, even though there are serious points in there…
What a time it has been. Just over a week ago we had a tree planting ceremony in my home town for my step-dad. My STBX came and we got on very well. Very hard to be with him and my family but know it is all over and he has moved on with his partner. The next day I put the divorce into motion. I think I should have waited a week; two emotional things in two days was not a good idea. But it needed to be done. We have been separated a long time now and waiting any longer would have been damaging to me emotionally too.
My Life Group has been very supportive, esp a woman I shall call Ajana.
My church has just run a series of sermons called Church Matters. Pastor 3 asked for some feedback. I have sent mine to him privately.
I wrote (more or less):
“I am intrigued by the idea of church as family that has come up. Families can be great; I doubt there are many on this earth who don’t need family. Yet when Pastor 1 says, “We are family,” my barriers go up. I think, ‘Mmm. Are we? Really?’
I think church can be LIKE a family – in good ways and bad. The good ways are obvious: mutual support; shared sense of doing things for the good of the cause; unity; somewhere to turn to in good times and bad. But let’s not forget that families can be very dysfunctional places.
Also in families people are assigned roles. Sometimes those roles can box us in. People can get labelled… and that happens in church too. She’s the naughty one; he’s the dull one; she’s the arty one… etc. This type of ‘shorthand’ thinking can reduce people. In truth, we are all more complex than the roles assigned to us. Families have rules, often unspoken rules at that. These rules help the family to function but it also means that family members have to toe the line. Those who don’t do this feel the weight of displeasure from the others or may be ostracised.
Then there are the power games (vile). The gossip! And silliness! Even bullying. It can all get very messy.
Also one can feel alone in a family. This is why belonging to a Life Group is vital, IMHO. It is there that you do get to something approaching family.
Thinking about a question from last night’s Life Group: Who who has had a major impact on your Christian life?
I named more than one person and while I stand by my choices there are countless others that I didn’t mention.
The person who comes over to talk to you in the church cafe when you are standing alone; the unknown hand on the shoulder during a service; the unheard prayers for your wellbeing; the ongoing guidance from those who are mature Christians; the prayer someone utters that touches you; the sermon that galvanises you to action; the person who lends you that CD that totally inspires you; the person who is not afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve; the one you go to when you have questions or doubts; the timely texter…
All of these people. I don’t think you can whittle it down to one!
I write this as someone who is not a natural beauty. Even with make-up I am not conventionally attractive. I have acne scars, am very short-sighted, am not tall, wear my hair short and I’m definitely not a WASP. But makeup has been a real pleasure in my life. Why should I subject onlookers to the worst I have to offer? If you hate the idea of a gloopy face there are tutorials out there to show you how to sport the no-makeup look – that actually requires… makeup!
If you don’t know where to start but are curious about looking a little more polished then the basics are simple and cost little:
Foundation, if you need it. If you have pretty skin anyway a tinted moisturiser may suffice.
Lipstick. Nude shades suit most people. And lightly-glossed lips always look good.
Mascara/eyeliner. Emphasise the windows to your soul!
Eyeshadow . Optional. Smooth concealer over the whole eyelid and a smudge of brown eyeshadow.Suits most colourings. Watch videos online to learn how.
Get a good hair cut. Long locks are lush but only if they suit your face-shape and stature. I have never successfully grown mine, sadly. I stick to short styles but there’s short/mannish and short/feminine.
Clothes. Keep well-covered up if you prefer to but choose inviting fabrics: soft wool, soft leather boots with long skirts or jeans, a bit of colour in the neck area either through jewellery or a scarf.
I know some people will hate what I am saying and see it as anti-feminist or the clear signs of an inauthentic person but I have seen fantastic women who have not married, not even dated much yet longed to, for whom that man never did step forward. I don’t know why he never did but I suspect that they weren’t giving out the ‘approach me’ signals that men kind of need to make that scary first step!
When you look and feel good people will be drawn to you and want to get to know you. It’s true.
Many Christian women believe that because God loves them and accepts them that this means that they should not need to bother with fashion, makeup and general girly stuff. In their minds the right Christian man will see their inner beauty and step forward to claim them. This attitude is what my friend, A, and reader of this blog, calls the “love me, love my cardigan syndrome”.
There’s one thing that undermines this thinking . Christian. Man.
It may be controversial but virtually all men, Christian or otherwise, respond to certain aspects of beauty in a woman.
Firstly, men – and women – are drawn to that which is beautiful, whether it is a sunset, fabulous architecture – or a pleasing face. Sadly, even among God-loving brethren a jolly smile is not always enough to make them want to get nearer to a woman in a romantic way.
Secondly, like it or not, most women do look better with some attention to their appearance. (As do men but our society’s convention in the west is for the woman to be the user of artificial aids to aid beauty.)
Thirdly, to attract a man’s attention you need to give off certain signals. Make-up – even light make-up – says that you are in the game (I said in it not on it!). It signals that you are engaged in the world. Yep, I know it’s not fair but that is the reality for most people. Of course, there are always going to be natural beauties. We have them in our church: glamorous Christians who wear little or no make-up. But they do have fabulous hair, great clothes, and they are young. The young can get away with much more than us midlifers.
Fourthly, looking good does a lot for one’s self-esteem.
You don’t need to trowel the gloop on like a dodgy X-rated starlet. Read on for my hints and tips.
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