Tag Archives: life

The devil makes work for busy hands

26 Apr

I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase “The devil makes work for idle hands”, but just recently I have become convinced that the devil uses busyness just as much as idleness to distract us from following God with all our hearts.

Although Christians don’t like to admit it, I would guess that most of us struggle spending time with God, reading our bibles and praying. We can often feel guilty that we’re not doing it enough.
Over the last few years God has been helping me develop my quiet times…

…or in other words – I’ve actually been doing them regularly.

However, I still go through times {such as the last few weeks} when things get super busy and spending time with God seems to be put on the back-burner. This time, after a couple of hectic weeks when I was also ill I asked God to teach me how to continue to follow him faithfully even when things were super busy.

Here’s what I learnt:

1. Be disciplined

Oh yeah…you knew that one was coming right? It’s completely obvious but oh so hard!

God gave me a verse from Psalm 15 to cement this in my mind…

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?…he who keeps his oath even when it hurts”

As one lady from church says “anyone can march for Jesus when the sun shines”, but surely the real test of our faith and commitment to God is in those times when it’s not easy. If we’re still passionately following God even when things are going wrong then that cements our relationship and makes it real.

Now, I know that everyone has ‘seasons’ in life. There’ll be times when we can dedicate real time to in-depth bible study and prayer and other times when things are done more on the run, but I think as Christians we’re very good at making excuses for not spending time with God. We need to look at our hearts and at our motives. I know in my heart that if I examined my ‘busy’ days, there are still times when I manage to snuggle down with a novel for 15 minutes – why not spend that time sharing with my best friend, saviour and God instead?

2. Know where our energy comes from

If we need to find an example of a busy person, Jesus is a good person to start with. His ministry was a constant onslaught of teaching and needy people. So how did he deal with it?  In Luke 4 and 5 we see that Jesus went to a solitary place and he prayed. He knew that his energy, strength and power came from God so he went to him to talk about his ministry.

I get frustrated with myself when I forget this. I’m having a super busy day and I just end up forgetting to ask God to help me and so I do things in my own strength which makes things ten times worse. In the busy times spending time with God is probably more important – and yet so often we neglect it.

3.  Be fruitful, not busy.

The bible 100% advocates doing work for God and keeping busy, so don’t think that I’m suggesting we all sit around idle…

HOWEVER, I was reading again the story of the Vine and the Branches in John 15 the other day and it struck me…

What is the sign of God working in someone’s life?

Fruit.

Not busyness.

If you’re using your gifts to serve you likely will be very busy, but if you’re not listening to God and just getting involved in anything and everything you might not be fulfilling your God given role to the best of your ability.

We {and by this I mean ME} need to discern what God is telling us to do and be ready to say ‘no’ to people who suggest we do other things that in the end might end up making us super busy, but not super fruitful for God. We might seem like we’re indispensible and oh-so-helpful around church but if we end up sacrificing our personal relationship with God in the long run then, as Psalm 127 puts it, we’ll be “working in vain”.

Quick Questions

1. What do you think? Do you agree/disagree? Anything to add?
2. Do busy times drive you closer or further away from God?
3. How good are you at saying “no” when it’s required?

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HE GOT THROUGH!

15 Feb

(if you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about read this post first)

Oh  me, oh my – I’m going to be a vicar’s wife people. I’M GOING TO BE A VICAR’S WIFE!!!!!!!

I’m feeling slightly brain dead from the fact that we’ve actually found out and the news hasn’t really sunk in yet but…

  • We are so grateful that God has given us this opportunity and that we get to work for him full time. I am simultaneously ecstatic and terrified about the challenges we will face in the future, but just praise God that he has once again given us the ‘desires of our hearts’.
  • I am SOOOO proud of Josh. He has worked so hard for this. We had a report back from the board and they were so positive about him. I’ve married an amazing man.
  • I don’t think I will ever be able to THANK YOU enough to all of those who have been praying and supporting us through cards, emails and phone calls. You’re all amazing and we have definitely felt the benefit of the prayers!

So all I have to say in conclusion is Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooop!

Swirling emotions and soup

3 Feb

I’ve been sitting here trying to work up the motivation to post but my mind is all over the place. I’m super tired because I was in the prayer room at church at stupid o’clock this morning and it’s only a few hours until I see my sweet hubby again after his interview.

[THANK YOU to all who have been praying…it’s going okay, but it’s been hard going, as expected. I’ll post more when I’ve actually been able to speak to him properly]

Instead of writing something meaningful I’ll simply share this soup recipe that Josh made last week, and hope to see you back tomorrow for a five fact Friday.

Broccoli Soup with goat’s cheese
(adapted from a recipe bbcgoodfood) Serves 4-6

1 tbsp Olive Oil
900g Broccoli
50g Butter
1 Large onion
1l veg stock
600ml full fat milk
100g soft goat’s cheese

1. Chop the broccoli stalks and florets, but keep them separate. Melt the butter in a pna, then add the onion, broccoli stlks and fry for 5mins until soft. Add the florets and stock, then the milk. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes until the broccoli is tender.

2. Blend in a food processor or hand blender. [hopefully your blender won’t break at this point, showering you with soup, like mine did].

3. To serve, reheat if necessary and scatter with goats cheese.

Learning to live without fear

31 Jan

Since I went to Zumba class last Thursday I’ve been thinking a lot about fear. Weird connection? Maybe, but hear me out…

A few months ago I started reading the book ‘The Me I Want to Be’ by John Ortberg with my mentor Diane. We talked about what and who we fear. I began to realise that I actually care a lot about what people think of me. I’d replay conversations in my head and beat myself up that I should have said something differently, and that I must have looked really stupid for saying it in the first place. I worried about how I appeared to other people.

We prayed and God prompted me to start reading about the subject. I learned two important things:

1. Fear of God is important.
The bible talks a lot about fearing the Lord (1 Sam 12:24, Psalm 25: 14 for a start). Sometimes in church it’s easy to get carried away with the soft, gentle loving side of God, and forget that he is the all-powerful maker of the universe who abhors sin. It’s even more wonderful then, that he still loves us enough to send Jesus so we can have a personal relationship with him BUT that doesn’t mean that we can stop taking his guidance for our life seriously. Following God wholeheartedly should be my first priority. I will worship him because he loves me even though I don’t deserve it one bit.

2. Fear of man is not important.
Proverbs 29:25 says that fear of man will be a snare to us. How often is that true? How often do we spend precious time and energy worrying about the future or what people think of us? How often do I not press the ‘publish’ button on my blog because I don’t know how people will react or because I worry I will get no comments.
There are dozens of promises in the bible concerning fear and how God will protect those who love him. I began to realise that if I am living in a way that glorifies God then does it really matter what people think of me?

SO… back to Zumba.

It wasn’t until after I got back from my class and started having conversations with friends about it that I realised I was actually pretty chuffed with myself for going. It was the two things that nearly every person talked about that jogged my mind a) that I was brave for going by myself and b) what did you have to wear?

A few months ago I would have fretted about looking right, or being embarrassed about doing the wrong moves but after these conversations I realised I hadn’t really thought about it that much. I didn’t really want to go on my own, but I still really wanted to do Zumba…so I went!
And a room filled with 50 women…I didn’t even care how I looked and whether I have my arms up in the wrong places.

That’s gotta be an improvement on a few months ago, right!?

Quick Questions:
1. Do you worry about what people think of you?
2. How do you deal with fear?

Making more effort

21 Jan

I’ve been thinking about what I mentioned in my Five Facts Friday post about keeping my house clean being my New Year’s resolution. I’ve come to the conclusions that it’s not strictly true. What I should have said is that my New Year’s resolution is to make more effort.

Let me explain.

2009 for us was a rollercoaster year. We had some exciting times and have made some great memories. However, the year also contained a little more disappointment and uncertainty than you generally hope for. I finished the year feeling completely exhausted and despondent.

Nevertheless, after a great two week break for Christmas I felt refreshed and ready to go again. I looked forward to getting up in the morning and felt like I had my creativity back.

It made me realise that the reason I felt so down was partly because I was just really tired, and not because the whole world was crashing down around me. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t just lying on the sofa, wallowing in a pit of despair all the time BUT I realised that this year I need to make more effort to be happy, trust God, enjoy where we are and make memories, whatever is going on outside of our control.

So, even though I might be exhausted from rushing around doing a million different things I will still make more effort to do all those little jobs round the house before they turn into big jobs. It might be an effort at the time but I know that I will be much calmer, happier and a better wife if the house is ordered and tidy (I’m OCD like that).

 

Even though our jobs might conspire against Josh and I spending much time together I will make more effort to make the times we do spent together special, even if that means cooking when we don’t feel like it or playing a game together instead of just slobbing out in front of a film.

And all those other little things like exercising, exploring our surrounding area, driving, doing crafts and hosting dinner parties that can just get swept under the carpet with the busyness of life, I want to make more effort to live each day as it comes, enjoy the small things and serve God in every way I can. I want to make memories every day, rather than be looking into the future for the memories we will make then.

So, that is that. What are you resolutions and how are you keeping to them?

The past, present and future

16 Dec

Isn’t it weird how we go through seasons in life? Seasons of happy times, seasons of change…seasons of blogging every day, and seasons of not blogging at all?

I’m not really sure how to describe the last couple of months of my life, however, I can say that they haven’t been the best.

Back in the mythical time when I actually blogged regularly, you may remember I alluded to pushing doors for our future without actually going into specifics. I didn’t want to say too much because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but now I will explain all.

For the last year or so Josh has been applying to go forward for ordination in the Church in Wales. It’s a long drawn our process which can take years, but finally Josh seemed to be getting somewhere over the last few months. He met with one director who seemed to think that Josh could get through the interviews in time to go to college in September 2010 and was really pushing him through the system.

So, the last few months have been focussed on cramming for interviews and thinking about the future and what that means for us. If Josh becomes a vicar then it is pretty much signing up to a lifetime vocation, and it could actually be happening THIS YEAR.

While all this was going on work has been really busy and pretty tough for various reasons which I can’t really go into here. I still love my job, but lets just say it has been stressful and tiring too, and Josh working loads of evenings as well as studying for interviews meant that our time together was scarce.

Basically what I’m trying to say through all this ramble is that in the last couple of months I’ve felt like I’ve been in suspended animation (hence the lack of blogging – I didn’t feel like we were doing anything blog worthy!). I was concentrating so much on our future, and I was so tired just getting through the days that I forgot that I actually had to enjoy living for now.

But then we found out that Josh wasn’t going to get through the system into college this year. The board told him to wait a year and apply again then. At first we were both really upset and disappointed. It’s inevitable that it will be hard if you’ve built yourself up for something and been told that it is likely you will get through.
However, a week after we heard the news we took a short break to Pembrokeshire to relax, to catch up on sleep and to just get some quality time to hang out and talk. The rest we got over those few days away helped me to see that I had just been functioning on autopilot and that I was focussing so much on the future it wasn’t really surprising that I wasn’t feeling very happy in the present. 

Over the last couple of week I have been feeling better and better. The news that we have to wait a while still stresses me out a little – but only because I get stressed about not knowing what the future holds. I know that I shouldn’t and I’m still working on trusting that God has it in hand!

For the present we are planning to stay in Aberystwyth because moving anywhere for just a year seems like a lot of trouble just for the sake of it. So unless an unexpected job or opportunity crops up we’re staying put for the mean time. And I’m just trying to sit back and enjoy the present for a while, looking forward to Christmas* with my family and not worrying about what the future holds**.

*I bought the Muppet Christmas Carol DVD today – oh yes

**which will hopefully include more regular blogging. I’m sorry!

Growing up

5 Nov

When was the first time you truly felt like an adult?

A couple of weeks ago I was in a Mediterranean restaurant with about twenty of our friends for a birthday celebration. During the evening I gazed around as people relaxed round two huge circular dining tables, pouring wine, mixing up dressing from the bottles of Spanish vinegar and oil and laughingly passing round olives and crusty bread.

It suddenly struck me that I am an ADULT. No one organised for me to be there. I wasn’t just tagging along with my parents. I was there because I was part of a group of intelligent, engaging people who liked me for who I am.

Now, this might seem a little random and I’m certainly not saying I feel immature or out of my depth. It was just one of those light bulb moments where you feel how did this happen? When did I make the transformation from gawky teenager, to shy student to happy-as-I-am adult. Weird.

I guess all of this has been going round in my head because we are making some big decisions at the moment. In the next couple of weeks we will be taking another step towards our future, and will be finding out whether the door we’re pushing is going to be opened wider or slammed in our faces.

We’ve also recently found that a couple of our close friends are having a baby. They are the first in our close friendship group and it just makes you realise that we are getting to the age where loads of our friends seem to getting married and having babies.

 I wonder if people look at Josh and I and think we have it all together? I’ve already made the link between ‘growing up’ and ‘getting married’ – and we’ve been married for over two years. While, I’m not saying I feel immature (in fact Josh and I have had to deal with lots of situations that you could say are beyond our years), I’m not saying I feel like I have it all together either…

 I’ve got a feeling that becoming an adult is one of those mythical statuses that you aim to achieve as a child. Like turning 16 or 18…when you actually get there it doesn’t feel any different.

 So…a question for you. When was the first time that you felt like a real adult?

Welcome our new addition

14 Oct

I would like to introduce a new addition to our family.

Ieuan the hamster

Meet Ieuan (pronounced Yay-an) the Syrian Hamster.

Ieuan joined the family a week ago. He wasn’t really planned, but we had been thinking about getting a pet for a while. I didn’t really want any pet other than a dog, and Josh wanted a fish, so we went for a compromise and got a hamster instead.

IMG_0540

Last Wednesday we moseyed down to the pet shop and Ieuan was the first hamster to run up to the bars of the cage to say hello. In hindsight maybe we should have realised that it would be a mistake to take the most energetic, lively hamster there. The first thing he did when the shopkeeper opened the cage was to fling himself into the wild beyond off her hands and land on his back on the floor. Then later when Josh was holding him he made another break for it. Unfortunately Josh was talking to the shop keeper at the time so I put my hands out to try and stop him escaping. Josh assumed I wanted to hold him and so let him go. By which time Ieuan was off like a shot, clawing his way all over me before, again, shooting off into the wild blue yonder and landing on his back on the floor.

IMG_0553

So…maybe not the best of starts. But as we had already nearly killed him twice we felt an obligation to take him home. Ieuan has settled into his new home well (which by the way is proportionally bigger to Ieuan than our own flat is to us – such luxury!) and we’ve been handling him daily and he has calmed down a lot.

IMG_0557

I really wasn’t sure about getting a pet. I mean, small animals don’t do a lot and you just have to clean then out and feed them. But my affection for him is growing daily. Josh is out so much that it’s nice to have Ieuan out running in his ball while I sit reading on the sofa at night. He already recognises the sound of our voices and comes out of his bed to say hello when we get back from work, and he loves being groomed (which he needs because he has funky hair which sticks up in all directions!).

So, until we live somewhere we can have a dog, Ieuan is the next best thing. Welcome to the family!