Question Time

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A man with a plan

ON THE WAY

Questions are a sign of curiosity and humility. They fascinate us and often remind us of a childlike innocence. I find questions very useful in my spiritual development. They are allies and tools of growth – if they are used and used smartly.

Here are some question I find useful at the end of the year and the beginning of a new one:

  1. What mistakes can I learn from – looking back at  the last 12 months?
  2. What relationship needs forgiving, healing or restoring due to trauma in the past few months?
  3. What can I celebrate – looking back – and show gratitude to God and others?
  4. What has been God doing in my life – could I sum it up in a sentence?
  5. What regrets do I need to bring back and leave at the foot of the cross?
  6. What habit/ hobby is my greatest enemy in time wasting and…

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Coincidences or Divine Intervention?

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Feeling awed! Mum and I were standing on her front doorstep in the town of my birth, waving off my very old friends, Bristol-based P and J, who I see just 1-2 times a year, when who should drive down our fairly out-of-the-way street but my friends/former neighbours, E and S, from the town where I now live (about 50 miles away.) E and S had NO IDEA my mum lives on this street and that this is the family homestead. Sheer coincidence.

Then… At the very same time my old hairdresser drove passed them in the same make and model and silver coloured car as E and S own, waving, AND at the same time mum’s neighbour, Brian, came out to tell me that I had a flat tyre – I had not noticed. There was a nail in it. He pumped the tyre up for me and I rushed off to Kwik Fit and got it replaced. Brian probably saved my life ‘cos I’ll be driving on the motorway tomorrow.
Coincidences or not?!

I had been feeling tearful and forsaken earlier in the day but these coincidences made me feel like there was some sort of pattern work going on!

 

 

 

My Story: Sex and Dating

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Interesting

thelovemanifesto

Dating, sexuality, lust, and fornication

I would like to do another series just on dating in the future so this major issue for me as an adolescent and college age Christian, will be comparatively brief.

Dating vs Courtship

Among the home school movement of the 90’s there was a significant push to reject typical dating and instead use what people referred to as courtship. This was made popular by books such as I Kissed Dating Goodbye and similar authors who said that normal dating was wrong and Biblical dating followed their model of courtship.

Courtship basically was group dating. Going out with groups of friends with perhaps an older adult supervisor in the mix and getting to know the group without the emotional and romantic pulls of dating. When it came to actually pursuing a relationship there were a couple of rules.

One the couple should not consider a relationship…

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Moving House and Worrying

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No wonder they say moving house (buying and selling) is one of the most stressful life events.

his has got to be one of the worst hings I’ve ever been through – and I’ve suffered a lot in other ways in life; I’m not being overdramatic.

I wish my faith was much stronger, that I could trust in God that everything will work out for the best. But my faith is not strong enough.

Now I can’t sleep for worrying. I’ve tried CBT thought records tonight but it hasn’t stopped the thoughts from racing.

A lot of my problems would be solved with money. It may not make you happy but it certainly smooths the way.

 

Stuck on Moors – Life Group Men to the Rescue

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_65108948_peterfarrellEach year my church Life Group holds its Christmas party at a very remote farm in one of the widest upland areas in northern England. The farm is about 16 – 20 miles away from my home.

Twice I have driven to this place, by myself, with no problem, in poor driving conditions. This year was different.

Firstly, I was running late because I’d had to go back home to pick up something I had forgotten. It had been 12 months since I’d done this route.. Secondly, I had my dog with me.

As I drove up onto the moorland in the  pitch, pitch black I thought, ‘Wow – this place really is remote. How much further can this be?’

A car behind me was driving too close. The headlights were shining in my eyes. Fortunately, the car turned off and I went on my way.

But then I realised that the scenery had changed – and I didn’t recognise it. Walls had disappeared. All I could see was road (more a track) and reed beds. And very deep darkness.

It struck me that the car behind me had been turning into the right place – the farm, my destination. It was I who was wrong. I’d overshot the mark.

No problem, I would turn in the road.

I got halfway through my three point turn… Disaster. I couldn’t reverse. The grassy verge wasn’t firm ground at all. It was bog – literally! The reeds should have been a clue. My wheels were stuck fast in the mud. I couldn’t move. My muscle problems meant I couldn’t push my way out nor could I walk to the nearest building (which was probably the farm itself).  And I was blocking the road.

I got my mobile phone out. Would there even be a signal?

Yes!

I rang the pastor’s wife. No reply. I rang the pastor. No reply. I rang again. Still no-one answered. Busy with party prep and entertaining.  I was now nearly fifty minutes late. Would anyone twig that I wasn’t just late but in trouble? Possibly not.

Would I be here all night? Thank heavens I had the dog with me for comfort. I rang 999 and was put through to the police. I explained my predicament. I said I was scared. (I was).

The police could not find the road on their maps – it’s that remote. They hadn’t even heard of the village in the valley. Eventually they did manage to locate it and said they would send someone out. They suggested I call my rescue service but, tbh, I felt incredibly vulnerable and, in my panic, I thought the police would be the best bet.

As I was waiting I recalled that one of my good male friends, who I knew was due at the party, is usually ‘switched on’ to his mobile. I tried him. Joy! He replied. The signal gave out but I had time to convey my predicament and location.

Minutes later car headlights came bobbing along the road. Three strong men from my group came along. One got in my car, the other two pushed. In seconds I was free. My ordeal was over. The pastor stayed with me and I rang the police to cancel my emergency rescue. We went on to the party and had a jolly time.

What happened was, in the end, not that dramatic.  I was stuck, I was rescued. All I suffered really was embarrassment.

But much later on, when I got home about midnight, I felt tearful. How vulnerable I can be. Recent, severe floods and extensive power cuts up here have made me realise this too.

God was faithful, as they say. I was okay. But it’s shaken me.

 

 

 

 

Brothers in Arms Take Time Out

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I’ve become quite close again to my ex-brother-in-law. (XBIL). It’s really nice. I think it is because his mum (my former MIL) died this year and he split up with a woman this year too.

My BIL and I share a similar trajectory re our marriages. His wife left him just two months before my husband left me. We both appreciate the single life but we also talk about the things we miss, where we’re at now, and the things we hope for.

XBIL always has a lot of ladies interested in him and I’m sure it won’t be long before he is matched up again but I’m glad he is taking some time to learn what it’s like to be alone before getting involved again.

Men often don’t take that tim, fearing the aloneness too much.

Two men from my divorce group (we all joined 2011) took three years out from relationships and it seems to have really helped them. One, once recovered, went on a Christian dating site and met his now wife there while the other is in a relationship (he was the last time I spoke to him) that seems to suit him. I admire these two.

The Gift We Forget

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CFM LIFE GROUPS

Think: remembering the main points      

  • The Gift We Forget
  • Inform: Go & Tell: Luke 2:15-18
  • Invite: Come & See: John 1:40-42

Talk: questions that stimulate application

  • What was the most surprising Christmas present that you have received?
  • How would you describe the Good News in a nutshell?
  • What discourages us from showing & telling the Good News?
  • What encourages you in the shepherds’ attitude & action?
  • Why did Andrew go and tell Peter?
  • In what ways can we be an ‘Andrew’ for those around us?

Task: actions speak louder than words

  • Let’s spend time praying for those we encourage to discover the Good News.
  • Let’s pray that we would treasure Jesus more and show him gladly to others.

For a PDF version click here The Gift We Forget

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Toxic Tribal Ties

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Just got back from visiting a friend and she described her mother (now deceased) as someone who came out with similar utterances to mine.

Maybe the very elderly become bitter and frightened. But I reckon my mum was always negative, thinking back. When she was young it was easy to laugh about it, laugh with her, as being cynical, but now I realise it was actually toxic and snobby!

Hard.