This too is worship

Today I am having to do something very difficult.

I believe it’s what God wants me to do. I believe it’s the next step in the journey of restoration of my marriage.

This is my prayer

“Take away our stubborn self-will,
for we know that in Your will alone
is our peace. We seek that peace.” Peter Marshall

This is my worship.

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We

IMG_5129We have grown into women together. Marriage and motherhood came at the same time in life for both of us. This year we both celebrate 18th wedding anniversaries, 42nd birthdays, and our 3-a-piece children each growing ever older and more beautiful. We met as insecure 18 year olds on our first night at university. Somehow we became friends within a larger group, and 24 years on our friendship is stronger than ever. It has survived so much and witnessed so much. And all the time this ‘we’ has given me encouragement and strength and a longing to be more the woman of God that I have been made to be as I see my friend radiating the beauty of Jesus in her life.

She is beautiful. Inner and outer beauty. I’m not sure that she realises quite how beautiful she is. I love how she mothers. She was a mother before me and I have always watched how she does it. She’s gentle and creative and nurturing and such an encourager. She spots the seeds of growth and brings them to bloom. She rejoices in her children. She is hilarious and we laugh often. We share a love of books and cake, and we have the great joy currently of being able to meet for weekday lunches or coffees, squeezed into our working week, because we always make time for each other.

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This past year has been a very painful one for our ‘we’. I turned to her before anyone else when I found myself in a place I didn’t want to be. She listened and talked and prayed. After she left me she wrote to me. The letter told me all that I already knew. She encouraged me, pleaded with me to make good choices. She knew my heart, the good and the bad.

My response was to find the small part in it which offended me. I distanced myself from her, and attributed thoughts and feelings to her which were not hers. Much stemmed from my own shame. I couldn’t bear that I had let her down.

Over the next months I let the ‘we’ go. I wasn’t well, but that wasn’t the only reason. I stepped back into the places she had begged me not to go, and I couldn’t bear to tell her. All the time I was conscious of how much I missed her and how much I needed her. It became another sadness in my situation.

I don’t remember now what precipitated the change but after exchanging a few very painful emails we met for dinner. It felt awkward. We have NEVER been awkward with each other before. Before the meal came she went to the Ladies’ cloakroom and returned having emptied the Toilet paper dispenser of tissue, as she anticipated that there would be a great deal of crying and we would need every last piece.

I think I cried through the whole meal. My heart broke when she told me that she had changed my name in her phone to “try not to”, as in try not to call her. She had done that to protect her heart from my rebuffs.

That was in December. We have worked through more difficult times since then. I’ve hurt her and I’m so sorry for that. Yet she has shown me grace. She has loved me. She has rejoiced with me. She has told me the truth. She has expressed the very difficult things that have been laid on her heart. She has called me to account for my actions and feelings, and has reminded me who I am and whose I am. She has never stopped loving me.

IMG_5128 I am so grateful to have been placed alongside a woman who has gifted me with the most amazing friendship. I hope that our ‘we’ will remain, and that along with the great cloud of witnesses who cheer us on from the heavens, we will continue to spend our lives encouraging each other to fight the good fight and finish the race.

With gratitude.

This post is a response to the prompt “We” from Marvia Davidson’s Real Talk Tuesday. Come over to read her post and the other link ups. 

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Eye catching and beautiful when the light shines …

I have been absent from this blog for a couple of weeks. It’s the longest silence since I began writing The Hope Diaries in January.

In the last two weeks I have stepped out in truth. I have told the truth of what I did, what the other did, to those who needed to know.

I want to share a few of the things I have realised in these last weeks.

Truth is Strength

IMG_3507There is strength in truth. When we walk in truth we are released from the oppression which has tried to hold us in our shame.

When you start to see the light, there is no way that you can even take notice of the darkness any more. 

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The light is too bright for eyes to explore what lies outside of it.

Love takes many forms 

IMG_4786I have been given love in a cup of tea by my bedside every morning before I wake, for the past nine months. That is a lot of love.

It’s a climb. It will continue to be a climb.

IMG_3825We ( my husband and I) were at a very low place, so we have to work our way up from there. But we’re climbing in the light and towards the light.

I think we may even look eye catching and beautiful 

IMG_4919This image of a  bubble is not quite right . Over the past months I’ve felt as vulnerable as the bubble, but not anymore. I/we still need some protection around us but we are stronger and we are beginning to float up to the place where we catch the light again and our colours start to show.

Lights in the darkness,

and even in the darkness the flowers have come. 

Be patient. Take heart and wait for the Lord. IMG_4466

This post is written with the greatest debt of gratitude to all the people, known and unknown to me, who have held us in prayer so that we could reach this point on our journey. with love to you. 

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Sprinklings of Hope

I have had the most extraordinary week. In so many ways.

But here’s the thing I want to tell you.

God is enough.

Wait on Him.

He loves us.

Yesterday I had to be somewhere. I arrived and took a seat. It was only some time after I arrived that I remembered that the last time I’d been in that place had been a night on which I felt utterly devastated. It was the day when I last spent time with the other. That night I was numb emotionally. I felt absolutely lost and as if my heart had been torn apart. It was a dark night, and a Coldplay song played . I sat alone that night with tears falling on my face. I was broken. Shattered.

 

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Yesterday the place was full of sunlight and beauty. It had once again been a day of significance on my journey. A day of standing in truth and seeking restoration. A day which God had gently led me to over months. As I realised that I had also been physically brought back to the place where I had been before, I reflected that this time I was not sitting alone. There were no tears running down my face. I didn’t feel lost. I have re-discovered my emotions and I claim them as good. My heart is being mended.

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And then something caught my eye. Something which had been added to this place. Posters with bible verses on them. With one word highlighted in each verse. The highlighted word was Hope. IMG_4758

 

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When I looked across to the seat in which I had sat on the 15th November this was the verse over that place.

Put your HOPE in God. For I will yet praise Him. My Saviour and my God.  Psalm 42v11

Those verses shone for me yesterday. I couldn’t believe it. It felt like not only was God restoring me but he was shaking the glitter over everything in the form of love messages from Him to me.  I was given the word Hope in December and I chose it as my word for the year. It is Hope that I have held on to. It is Hope that has held on to me. Yesterday He confirmed to me the changes that he has brought about. He showed me so clearly that I am no longer alone in the darkness. He placed the word Hope on every wall of the building to make sure that I understood! My loving Heavenly Father has walked with me from that dark, dark night to this brighter place.

I have learned to live differently in those months. I have learned to see differently. Our God is a God of transformation and restoration.

I hope in Him.

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