Posted by: hoveactually | 01/10/2010

That’s it

This is it.

The last of these. (well all the posts that were here are over there now…)

It’s time for something new, and although the paint is still drying and there are some pipes to be covered up and the like I think it’s time to unveil.

From now I’ll be at home at www.thelongwalkhome.co.uk

It’s pretty much what I’ve wanted to do for a while. It’s a space for people to gather together on the long walk home. It’s a space to organise all my thoughts around that theme. It’s a place to reflect on the songs of the Psalms on the way home. It’s a place to remember what home is like. It’s a place to explore.

I’ve been helped by the excellent Jason who draws awesome things like the Jesus Comic and the also excellent Anna who takes pretty pictures of many things. We hope you like what you see and that you’ll come along for the journey.

Come along for the ride eh.

Posted by: hoveactually | 13/09/2010

Some things should be left at the fire…

The time has come to put a few things on the fire. For a while now I’ve been holding on too tightly to the dream of fulltimepaidchristianministry. I’ve been missing a past life, been frustrated at being out of the circle and generally missing what is in front of my eyes.  For too long now I’ve moaned and complained at God for not enabling me to use my gifts etc. The Israelites have had nothing on some moments I’ve had with God in the last couple of years.

I think it’s time to stop now. That time is over. There is a new life here to be lived. I’m not saying I won’t try and dig up the grave of ‘what I miss about full time ministry’, but I want to embrace the life I’ve been given here in Brighton.

Despite all the moaning and complaining God has shown Himself to once more be steadfast in love and faithfulness, no surprises there then… I have been given the opportunity to work part time. To live in a world where I have 2 days a week to do what I really love and enjoy, to write, to hang out with people, to talk about God and encourage others and myself to remember that there is a God and that He really is involved with our lives.  I am humbled by such grace in the face of such despair and unbelief from me.

Whilst thinking about this recently I discovered the real fear below the complaining and moaning.  It came as I read blogs and tweets about people in my old job encountering God on the conference they go on each year. It was a fear that I was missing out. I was scared that without all the input, the big speakers, the small speakers, the times of worship, the teaching, the praying, the chatting that my old life brought along that I’d miss out on something God could be saying.  I am still scared of missing out on that new idea that will make it manageable to be a Christian in this world.

Crazy eh. I’m forgetting the real point, that there isn’t a magical key that will somehow transform me into an amazing woman of God, there isn’t a magic button to press to make me and this world perfect.

There is, as ever a cup, a cross and an open empty tomb. There is, as ever, a God who calls me to know that I am a dearly loved child and who calls me to live a life of love just as I have been loved. There is a very real splendor in the ordinary. In the everyday walking around life, in the going to work, in the washing dishes, in the relating to friends and family, in loving the people in front of me. There is a Bible in front of me which I can read and a God I can talk to. There is One who stands against my accuser and One who calls me to keep walking with Him on the journey home.

That has always been enough and it is enough for me. I will always be tempted by the latest idea, the new shiny thing, the different perspective on an old truth, the programme that will transform my soul, but I am called to know the enough of Jesus right here today in Brighton. I am called to trust in the God who works in our lives Today, who is more than capable of giving me what I need to walk home.

Posted by: hoveactually | 03/09/2010

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes…

This kind of thinking/writing/analysis makes me want to dance, hope and run through fields with my Maker.  Hyperbole? Maybe but these kind of thoughts enlarge God all over again in my small finite brain.

It’s the last day of the holidays, August has been spent, not in an office in Hove, but in the worlds of Reading, Belfast, the Lake District, our car and Brighton. We ended July in varying states of mentalness and tiredness. We wanted a nicely planned out rest programme, designed for maximum enjoyment and refreshment the way we would plan refreshment.

We didn’t get it.

Life has a funny way of getting in the way at times, plans were rearranged, holidays put on hold, other holiday moments found and our August was a different affair altogether. If we’d have known that at the end of July we might have run for the hills. As it was we dealt with it, we lived through some hard stuff and hard stuff is still ongoing in areas of our lives. There isn’t a nice cosy escape world from the pain of this life. There isn’t a perfect green pasture to lie down this side of the world to come.  There isn’t a desert island to plan perfect romantic moments on, where perfect communication will happen.  We live in a world full of brokenness, we are broken people. More and more I need it beaten into my strangely stubborn head that the perfect moments I ache for are signs of a world to come where there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more sadness.

Until then we rightly take holidays to rest from the normal routines of life, to breathe different air and to sleep.  We don’t, however, take them to provide us with what we need to keep walking. That comes from one source only. The Maker. We learnt, and more of this later, that rest comes from Him. We were reminded that God is our strength and refuge, not our plans, not certain places, not even certain people. Firstly our rest comes from Him.  We didn’t have the summer we planned but we had the summer we were given. We struggled to love each other, to love the people around us and to love God. We cried out to our God for help and He answered.  We carried on breathing, living and loving in circumstances that we did not choose.

That’s what we are called to in this life, in this world. To keep walking, to keep going despite not being in control. We are called to take the hand of the one who walks with us into valleys of shadow and death and trust that He knows the way forward, that he really is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine and has actual power to strengthen us when all other strength has gone.

Tomorrow we get back into routine, we will go to work, we will eat, sleep and talk, life will take on shape again. It will be messy at times, we will sing and dance at times, life will carry on, we will call out to God for help, in praise, in joy, in sorrow, we will forget to do all those things and need to be reminded again that He is real and we are walking together with Him.

In short, we carry on. Things don’t work out as we’ve planned in this life and that’s OK (Meaning- it’s OK after you’ve cried, screamed, wrestled with giving up plans you had and stamped around a bit. When you’ve generally been frustrated over things either not going your way or lamented the real pain involved in amazing plans not working out and then are called into the arms of a loving father who holds you whilst you cry) Our God is with us in the pain and frustration of plans not working out and that makes it OK.  The brilliant/hopeful/scary/frustrating at times/fall on your knees in awe thing is that our lives are in the hands of someone bigger than our plans.

Posted by: hoveactually | 04/08/2010

Another confession

I’ve just remembered. The other night I broke another cardinal prayer rule. When a husband and wife are together in a group you don’t get to pray for each other. That’s the rule folks. It’s weird, it might move over into mushy stuff that really no-one else wants to hear. You just don’t do it.

I hang my head in shame. The Wednesday before the boarding school adventure that some people like to call camp I prayed for husbandface in our small group. It was a long prayer, a passionate prayer, a prayer that wanted him to know more of our Maker.

I know, I should have waited until everyone had gone. I confess. Please find it in your hearts to forgive me for such gross transgressions of this prayer rule.

Posted by: hoveactually | 04/08/2010

The one in which I make a small confession.

I’m in a world I thought I would never inhabit… In fact I’ve prided myself on not inhabiting this world for a while. It is the world of … ‘camp’. For the uninitiated amongst you this is a word that divides Christians. At the mere mention of the word camp (we’ll lose the quotation marks for now) some Christians leap for joy, jump around the room and declare in loud voices that it is the best week of the year. The rest of us stare on bemused by how a week with teenagers could possibly fall into that category. For lots of people doing camp is an essential part of the ‘Christian Experience’.  To be honest I was proud I’d never done camp. I had never done camp and I was still here, still on the path to glory and heading to the promised land.

Then I married a man who did camp. Hmm. The call came, would we do camp this year? We ummed and erred and I threw my toys out of the pram (because beneath this serene surface I am a 2 year old child) and hated the idea. Then I gave in. It would be good, mainly because instead of a late night phone call each day I could at least have a late night chat and hug, and wave at husbandface across a room each day.

Turns out I like camp. There I’ve said it. Fear not, I will not persuade you all to do camp, I am after all a bit of an observer from behind the walls of the kitchen hatch (yes I did butter 100 or so slices of bread for your lunch today). I like seeing husbandface do what he is really good at (when I’m not being annoyed at not seeing him much and thinking he’s having more fun than I, *see previous statement about being a 2 year old child), I like seeing many teenagers bounce around the room and see that our God wants to be their friend. I enjoy being around people who are trying to help others really love our Maker. I like hanging out with different Christians and generally realising that we’re all in this together, whatever stable of the Christian world we come from.

There, my confession is made. I quite like camp. Although seriously, this needs not to be called a camp, I’m writing from a posh boarding school library, which whilst containing genius books like ‘Jennings’ and the ‘Hardy Boys’, could hardly be described as being part of a ‘camp’. There are no tents and everyday I get to swim in a heated pool. The room we are in has sky+ and when it rains we don’t live under smelly canvas. So, not a camp, but I like it.

Posted by: hoveactually | 24/07/2010

Saturday Evening

Saturday evening, the sun sinks lower in the sky over the city illuminating all around. Here in the flat there is peace. I look out at our view, trains rattle down into the station, cars meander around the roads, trees glow in the summer light.  Amidst all this beauty there are still times when this life feels very fragile, when it seems too much to carry on walking around these roads, when there seems to be too much confusion, too much heartache and no escape from the many tangled ways we relate to others, our Maker and ourselves.

We are tired. Exhausted and broken. But we are not defeated. We might feel like we are in despair, we might feel like the road is too long and that is OK. We aren’t the only ones and we won’t be the only ones thinking like this.  Distractions are tempting, despair seems inevitable out here when all around just looks misty, boggy and treacherous. It’s easy to believe the lie that there will be a magic button around the corner that will make this ache go away, it’s easy to believe that there is a road that isn’t this hard. It’s easy to doubt that one day the sun was out, that we laughed and joked together and couldn’t believe the clouds could ever come. It’s easy to believe that these clouds will never break and the sun is gone forever.

These are lies. There is only this road. There will be a time soon when the clouds will part and the sun will warm our backs again. Sure, they might come back, we will probably face much worse than this in our lives. That’s the nature of the journey.  We walk on because we know there is a future worth holding on for. We walk on because we know that we are not alone on this journey, that there is One who comes and holds our hands, who knows what is going on, who weaves in our lives with His power, strength and glory.  We have a God who knows the ache of our hearts so well. Who is not indifferent to our struggle. Who calls us to be more in it and who holds us tight when we stumble and fall.

We have active, powerful grace our lives. We have hope that this fall will not be the last one and we have a God whose presence is Love in our lives.

This is remarkably true:

1-6It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

We walk in company with Jesus. With Jesus, the greatest person who ever walked this earth.  We walk home in company with Him. There is Hope today, not just one day to come. There is Hope because we walk home with Jesus, who isn’t ashamed to hang out with people like us.

Tonight the air is clearer, it’s easier to remember the signs, tomorrow, who knows? But there is one who walks alongside us guiding, helping, prodding when we need it, sitting us down to catch our breath when we need it.

Phew.

Posted by: hoveactually | 24/07/2010

You know you live in Brighton when…

It’s a sign of living where we do that our local co-op sells newspapers like this:

It’s rumoured that you can buy papers other than a Guardian but I’m not sure of that. Last week we saw a man walking up the road with a Daily Telegraph. I’m not entirely sure who we are supposed to report him to.

Posted by: hoveactually | 19/07/2010

The one with the Birthday weekend

Diary update. For want of any profound thoughts washing around my tired brain.  This weekend was for birthday fun organised by the excellent husbandface. Given that we are both extremely exhausted right now I think we did very well on the fun front.

Thankfully my brain wasn’t too tired for the wonders of Inception on Friday night, a film which treated me as if I had a brain and wasn’t afraid to use it. Another twist on the ‘what is real?’ genre.  A delight for anyone who has ever realised they were in a dream, woken up and then realised that they were still dreaming, on a whole lot larger scale.

Saturday was the day for adventure, amused at being the only two people in Drucillas park without children attached to us, delighting in sleepy lemars, enjoying grumpy donkeys, loving some crazy golf action, discovering ancient tea rooms, napping and then eating ridiculously lovely food at the Ginger Dog in Brighton.

Sunday saw our church move to a new building, Mum and Dad taking us out for more lovely food, cup cake joy, more napping and the return of The Wire in our lives. The Wire is something I really need to extol the virtues of more on this blog. But I need to go and watch it right now and have my internal monologue littered with profanities for a while.

All in all a very good weekend, I’ve been well fed, have had many naps and enjoyed much of this crazy world despite the haze of tiredness. I have been furnished with many interesting books to read and have made it through another year of life. Phew.

Posted by: hoveactually | 12/07/2010

Visuals for the last post

Schemes are afoot, plans are being made. Watch this space for upcoming news of the website you’ve all been waiting for coming to a computer near you this summer. We’re working on something pretty cool. The aforementioned Jason is coming up with some genius visuals for the stuff I write, and you’ll just have to hang off the edge of your seat to see what might come next.

Until then, here’s a taster, it’ll be different in the future, but here’s his interpretation of the prayer circle🙂

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