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Was it meant to be dynamite?

Wee Frizz said some stuff that encouraged me and reminded me of this post from Feb 2011 so thought it was worth posting it again… I feel reassured that these thoughts are not completely new…

my small corner

I’ve heard a lot of Christian talks in my lifetime.  It seems that in a fair number of those talks, the idea that the bible and that the gospel are explosive (or could be so) featured so heavily as to have been engrained in my head.

I’m just wondering… Is the bible meant to be ‘dynamite’?  Is the gospel?

Its just… well, when I think about it, the idea of the bible of the gospel exploding in a great big BANG doesn’t seem to fit.  There is something slow and steady about scripture, something growing, something expanding.  Like sunrise or sunset – where you can’t quite tell the moment where they begin and end.

The whole smell of the Jewish culture in the Old Testament, the simplicity with which churches met and began to grow in the New Testament… Yes, there are moments of great drama and ‘explosion’, but is…

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Stating the Obvious (or ‘Real Live Person’) Too

As I said, I am marrying a Real Live Person’ it therefore should logically follow that he is marrying a Real Live Person Too.

And yet…

I’ve had a hair trial to make sure my hair is Perfect for the wedding. We spent an hour getting the perfect Messy look.

I had one makeup trial where a lady literally spray painted my face so my skin could look Flawless. As if not enough, I had to have a re-trial because it turns out my nose does not like being spray painted and I would rather be able to top up my Flawless Skin with powder to keep from shining not-so-flawlessly and the spray paint is like no other product know to womankind. I suspect it may be alien in origin.

And then again I stood in regalia fairly close to my birthday suit while a different woman spray painted much more than just my face.

I paid money for this to be done.

After this, she tells me when I’ll have to be waxed and soaked and scrubbed and polished in order to get it all Just Right for my big day. And really that I NEED false nails, ‘especially for the honeymoon’.

Now. Don’t get me wrong – I will willingly do some of those things again. I don’t want to look like a ghost in the photos we’re paying a chunk of money for! I want to look my best – enhance what I’ve already got, ya know??

But… In all of the pressure for not only the bride to look Perfect, but for the WHOLE DAY to be Flawless?? I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that I, too, am a Real Live Person. If that’s good enough for my husband-to-be, then its good enough for me!

I’m glad I’ve been single a little older than I would have chosen – otherwise this crap might’ve taken me over.

Vive les personnes réelles !!

(now where-d I put those tweezers…??)


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Stating the obvious (or ‘Real Live Person’)

I thought being engaged would mean I’d finally have that lifelong companion who would match me in every way. I thought he would know exactly what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling without me having to say a word.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I thought this in an obvious way. I had what I thought was a realistic view of what a relationship would be – I’d spent so much time worrying about not getting divorced that I’d given plenty of thought to how crucial good communication would be. But, as much as I hate to admit it, I expected a greater sense of ‘completion’ (eugh!) and ‘just knowing’ when it came to be 6 weeks before the wedding.

For a long time the fact that I did not feel those things in the way I expected to, was a great source of fear and trembling and many tears.  Thank. God. I have friends with their heads fully screwed on who gave me the courage to push past that crap. Because here I am, 6 weeks before our wedding, happy and ready for a new adventure. Not because I’ve ticked all my boxes and am Complete and Know, but because I find myself engaged to a Real Live Person. That is a much better adventure than I could ever have asked or imagined.

I’m afraid that’s it. No profound moral and a bit repetitive of my previous post. But that’s what’s happening in my small corner : I am marrying a Real Live Person.

Its nice 😀

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Why I want to pray with you, but probably won’t

1. I’m sort of tired of being the one who says ‘Do you want to pray?’  Not because I did it lots and lots, but more because I spent quite some time where it was kind of my job to pray with people and for people.  Its true, I appear to have gotten a good desire somehow twisted because it wore me down and it shouldn’t have.


2. I’m worried you’ll think I’m the sort of person who says ‘Do you want to pray?’  These people know what they are doing, they are Sorted to a degree which means they’ll ask that question.  I’m sort of tired of being the one people think is Sorted.


3.  I don’t want you to think I THINK I’m the sort of Sorted person who says ‘Do you want to pray?’  Because then you might inwardly laugh or sneer as you see so very, very, painfully clearly that I am NOT that sort of person.


4.  These then lead on to the fact that it somehow feels not very avant garde for us 30 somethings to pray together.  Aren’t we all a little too old and wise for such evangelical (spit) earnestness?  Aren’t we all a little too nonchalant for all that?  If I say ‘Do you want to pray?’ I might show myself up as someone so stuck in the past of what we called ‘fellowship’ as we grew up…


5. While being afraid of my doubts that the prayer will go un-answered, I am even more afraid of YOUR doubts about the prayer.  I’m afraid that this dynamic will push me back into the role described in number 1, thus spiralling through the whole thing again.


6. Then the simple reason that the culmination of all of the above and its twisted thinking and confusion will come to a head in an earnest, heartfelt cry for help from the One who might just do that, which will only serve to unveil fragility and let loose tears.  


And that’s just messy.

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Church makes me feel lonely

I don’t know what it is and I’m not sure I’ve always felt it… But church often makes me feel lonely.

On expressing this rather clumsily to someone one morning, he asked if I meant that our church wasn’t friendly enough.  But I don’t think so… It almost seems to be the opposite.  Or something.

Its got to be true that for those who don’t go home to a bustling family dinner, Sunday can be a killer.  I’ve definitely sometimes associated this Sunday-loneliness with that.  But I’m aware that at times, its not something that would be cured with an invite to join others’ bustle.

I wonder if it would be cured had I my own bustling brood to provide for.  I’d definitely have less time to think about it, that’s for sure.

But I don’t know.

Church for me often stirs up longing that I can’t quite put my finger on, can’t quite find a name for.  A longing for moreMore what?


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See, now I know someone out there might read this.

I have a post waiting that I wrote a few weeks ago, but then Jaybercrow got all stirred up and blogging has kicked off again.  Which means blog reading has kicked off again.  Which means someone out there might read that post.  And, worse, comment on it.  Or worse still, NOT comment and silently judge.



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One year on…

A year ago today, I packed all my belongings into a van and drove them (with a good friend, the best) back to the country where, 2 years previous, I had done the reverse.


Today is raw… a wee bit sore, a wee bit anxious, a wee bit torn.


As I write, the Autumn sun is streaming in the window onto my brick fireplace and, despite this morning’s earlier grey rain, the sky is now a beautiful blue with just the odd puff of a cloud skiffing past in the brisk wind.


This house is a blessing, a little place I can curl up in and call my own.  The job I struggle with “pays the rent” and I am glad.  Apart from the employment and getting up at stupid o’clock to do it, I don’t think I’d rather be anywhere else.  And yet…


Life in France was amazing.  It drove me mad sometimes, sad sometimes but… It was happy and fun and exciting and joyful and despairing and confusing and tiring and wonderful and beautiful and up and down and round and round and round.  Rinse, repeat.


It was that : Life… in France.


So I suppose that’s why there will always be a ‘before France’ and an ‘after France’ kinda me.  And so I suppose that’s why there will always be mixed feelings about it.  I definitely left a big part of my heart there (although I’m working on moving some of that to Norn Iron – he’s gonna love it!) and I feel like there are some defining moments being lived in and around the whole experience… But I’m not there yet.  I don’t have this all defined and neatly tidied up yet.  And contrary to what the state of my lovely little rental house back in NI might indicate, I’m not very good at the untidy part.  


I realised this when I signed up for an art workshop a few months ago and I found myself welling up in frustration as I looked at the scribbles of blue, green and purple I was trying to coax into a seascape.  I thought I was good at this!  I thought I had it down! This wasn’t how I wanted it to be! It was messy and I wanted it to be tidy.  It was formless and I wanted it to be formed.  And I wanted it to be beautiful.  But it wasn’t there yet.  


And then eventually… it was.


A year on from my departure from France, I expected form but what I’ve got is scribbles.


And so I sit, holding the ache gently – I’m making space for it today.  Which is good… and right.


I contemplate the fading Autumn sun on my fireplace and comfort myself that scribbles are just a small part of a much bigger process.  They are good… and right.


I listen to the clock ticking.


And I write.




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I have a friend who is “heavily pregnant”;  like, just-a-few-weeks-to-go-and-difficulty-bending-over pregnant.  If I were her, I’d be a moany git.

But you see, the last time this friend was pregnant, she didn’t make it this far – nowhere near this far.  So now that she is this far and on the verge of a waddle, there’s little chance you’ll hear her complain.  She knows what its all for.  Every cm that belly grows, every elbow in the rib, every hiccup that baby makes, she knows all about it and wouldn’t have it otherwise.  Because all these are signs of life and the life to come.

Just because she exercises restraint in voicing her discomfort, her body does not.  She knows and hears very well the ‘complaint’ of the extra weight her body bears because that’s how this new birth thing works.  Just because there are no words, does not mean there are no groanings.

Just because my body has not yet known this mystery, nor your’s perhaps able to, does not mean we do not know those pangs.

That thing you hope for – the job, the relationship, the home – but which seems so far away; that unnameable ache you feel for the elusive “more”; that swelling, prodding, hiccup which sometimes seems to walk a tightrope between joy and despair… don’t wish it away.  It is a prayer. Hold it gently, but firmly, because it is a sign of life and the life to come.

 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Romans 8:22-28 (The Message)




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Survival tips for dealing with a “Returning Medium-Term Missionary” (RMTM) who might seem a bit weird.

1. Your well-intentioned questions are appreciated, but may not always have an answer.  Not having an answer, not least an answer that fits into a five-minute conversation is unsettling and what with points 1 and 2 in yesterday’s post about the RMTM, who knows what sort of reaction you’ll get!  Patience is a virtue… for all of us.

2. Unusual life circumstances and experiences may seem exciting in relation to what you see as ‘humdrum’ home life, but on the other side of things your home and routine could be a balm of healing during an unsettled, uncertain time for an RMTM.  Don’t feel like you need to offer intense catch-up chats about the “excitements of the mission field” in order to show you care – share your life and the stories will come out in time.  Its possible that for both parties a take-away in front of the telly and the immense pile of ironing might be better than a sit-down meal with linen napkins.

3. Be ready to share your stories too.  If ‘normalcy’ really exists, then it exists in what each of us live day to day – the RMTM’s reality is not the only one to have continued in their absence.  It’ll do all parties good to remember that as they seek to embrace this new reality of ‘normal’ life.

Colossians 3:12-14

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

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When someone else writes what you wanted to but didn’t know how.

The little boat
had seen many days at sea.
There was still colour in her paint but her clip had slowed visibly.
The freshness, the eagerness, the vitality had waned.
These days it felt difficult to be a boat –
not natural but laborious.
Things that previously brought joy & life
seemed to painfully elude her.

She needs this harbour time.
Time to dock.
Time to bob in one place & see the same quiet things for a while.
Time to be attended to & not to attend.
A time of harbour rest, of safeness & sameness,
of warming sun, of staring at gulls,
of smelling salty air,
of taking in the gentle clanging & bobbing of other boats,
the occasional sound of a motor, the lines clinking against the masts.

The harbour is where I want to sit.
It’s where I need to sit after an especially busy, intense season.
My soul yearns for a harbour experience of calming sights, smells & sounds.
All my senses need to feel her healing balm.
And all of me needs to know that:
Stillness is progress,
Quiet is impetus,
Solitude is movement.
Soul care is breakthrough.

One day soon I will look past the harbour onto the horizon.
First I will just notice it.
As time passes, I will appreciate anew its grandeur, its vision, its call.
And eventually I will yearn again to travel there on open seas.
For now, Harbour Time is where I renew those soulful yearnings.

“Others went out on the sea in ships…
They saw the works of the Lord,
his wonderful deeds in the deep…
and he guided them to their desired haven.”

Psalm 107:23, 24, 30


Thanks, ‘A life of interest’


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