I have been completely overwhelmed by the response I have had to my blog generally, the kind comments I have had from people, but also the really thoughtful advice people have given me – showing that they really have been reading it. Considering it was a bit of a summer whim when I started, I’m loving writing it and I’m loving the learning process that goes with it!
This was no more evident than with my last post Warning Warning Warning. The responses I got from people, praying for me, encouraging me, and possibly most importantly challenging me were, well, fantastic!
It’s the challenges that have led me to this post. In the previous post I alluded to the vague recognition that the ‘old Helen’ wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, and this is what I’ve been challenged by the most. One friend sent me what was possibly the longest text I have ever received, and it spoke straight to me.
There is no’old’ Helen, she is just slightly different to the current one, she was essential for who I am today and where I am today. She made it through 34 years, with some pretty tough going at times, and lots of hurdles jumped, as well as loads of fantastic experiences!
I guess when it comes to looking back we have a tendency to go one of two ways – we can look back regretting who we were, and what we did; or we can look back at how wonderful things were and how we wish it was the same – especially when it comes to children’s TV which definitely was better in the 80s!!!!! Very rarely do we acknowledge where we’ve come from and how that has impacted where we are. Looking back over my blogs I have been doing a similar thing, for which I apologise. I’ve had a fantastic life, with amazing opportunities, for which I am incredibly grateful.
On Thursday I spent lunch time with the head, following my breaking down on him on Wednesday! As well as boosting my confidence (something he has to do quite frequently) making sure I know there is nothing at school to be anxious about, he also reminded me of 1 Corinthians 13:11 which says “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” The reminder that we change, but at no point are we necessarily a wrong version of ourselves, we are just in a different place.
The thing I love about September in school is a new start, new books, new stationary. As much as it is a new start, it is still essential that we learn from what we have done in previous years, both what has succeeded, and what could be improved! This is where we finally get to the point of this blog – going on a journey!
I have become very aware this week that life is a journey, and all parts of it, all people within it, all mistakes, all bumps, all highs, all lows, are an essential part of it. There is no need to worry about what has happened, or worry about what will happen, and I know that is much easier to say than do, but acknowledge that it is all necessary.
For me, I also know my journey is not alone, I am surrounded by people who love, support and challenge me (I cannot stress how much I appreciate the challenging), I also know that I have God. I was reminded of this as I walked to work on Thursday, I was smiling for my entire journey, laughing at times. God most definitely does have a sense of humour.
My journey to work takes about 40-45 minutes, I always start off by listening to a podcast – pray as you go – this is just a daily reflection. On Thursday it started off with a taize chant Bless the Lord – the words of which include “bless the Lord my soul, and bless God’s holy name. Bless the Lord my soul, who leads me into life”, the narrator or the podcast then said “as you approach this time of prayer – let go for a moment, let go of your own fears, concerns, reluctance. Let yourself be led by God, trusting God who loves you will lead you into life” hmmmmm I think that might have been a message I needed to hear.
It goes on, to the story of Jesus going out on a boat with disgruntled fishermen who hadn’t caught anything, instructing them to put down their nets, and then having too many fish to be able to carry themselves. The narrator then asks a series of questions and makes a few statements
- As Peter often spoke without thinking, when have you reacted too quickly and then regretted it?
- Can you be more open to God thinking about the possibilities in life rather than the problems?
- What do you want from God at this time in your life’s? What does God want from you?
- When Peter got it wrong Jesus brought him out of it and told him not to be afraid.
- In the same way Jesus drew Peter to see so many possibilities, he invites us not to be afraid.
This podcast was directly for me on that day, but then it continued as I turned on genius on my iPod. I listened to four songs, all of which I have listened to numerous times, but on Thursday I paid attention to the words.
- My Lighthouse Rend Collective. The important lyrics here include in my wrestling and in my doubts. In my failures You won’t walk out. Your great love will lead me through. You are the peace in my troubled sea… In the silence, You won’t let go. In my questions, your truth will hold. Your great love will lead me through. You are the peace in my troubled sea…I won’t fear what tomorrow brings. With each morning I’ll rise and sing. My gods love will lead me through. You are the peace in my troubled sea.
- You are my vision Rend Collective. The important lyrics for me here were… You are my wisdom, You are my true word. I ever with You and You with me Lord. You’re my great father and I’m your true son. You dwell inside me, together we’re one
- Never once Matt Redman. Important lyrics… Standing on this mountaintop looking just how far we’ve come, knowing that for every step, you were with us. Kneeling on this battleground. Seeing just how much you’ve done, knowing every victory, is your power in us. Scars and struggles on the way, but with joy our hearts can say. Never once did we ever walk alone. Never once did You leave us on our own. You are faithful, God you are faithful.
- Relentless Hillsong. Important lyrics… The time is up for chasing shadows. You gave the world a light to follow. A hope that shines beyond tomorrow. Your love goes on. You carry us when the world gives way. You cover us with your endless grace. Your love is relentless. Tearing through the veil of darkness. Breaking every chain, you set us free. Fighting for the furthest heart You gave your own life for all to see.
By the time I’d got to work I’d got the message: I’m on a journey, and always have been, I’m not on my own, I have no need to worry, because God loves me for who I am, what I’ve done, and will always love me. It is not going to be easy but it is going to be an adventure. This last year God has shown me possibilities and given me opportunities I never would have dreamt possible for ‘me’ and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead! And I hope you don’t mind me continuing to share the journey with you!