25 April 2013

looking for the wrong line (on completing transition and leaving wilderness)

for remembrance

A pile of rocks made for remembrance. Remembrance after leaving the wilderness, as the Israelites did as told in Joshua Chapter 4. Made for when a definite sign came along that this time was finished, y’know all loose ends neatly tied up, put it in a box and move on.

But I sense that the season of transition is complete for now, and it is as though I stepped over a dotted line on an inconsequential day rather than any thing more solid. It is where I acknowledge that some things will carry on and be a work in progress, but other things have changed for good.

to celebrate

Re-connecting with God
In regular prayer, bible reading, spending time in His presence. Most importantly re-establishing a rhythm which had been squeezed out in the busyness of child-rearing, work and life. To know that life really is just so much better with these things, simply because of desire and not guilt.
Trying to share these things with others has felt as though I have been explaining self-indulgent rest. I am thankful that He knows what it really is and just need to let the Holy Spirit do His work.

Re-finding my cooking mojo
I got out of the habit of cooking regularly years ago and it became the Scotsman’s job. During this time I have learned to love cooking again. Working out recipes for cooking on a budget is no longer a chore and the look of disappointment on #2 son’s face when he realises he will be missing his favourite dish if he is doing something else is priceless.

Re-engaging with all the arts
I am primarily a musician and in church work with a group of musicians who share the load of leading and are a generally good all round bunch of people to hang out with. Sure there are the usual tussles between people in the congregation who know how they want things done and tell you how it could be done better. But all in all music and singing has been restorative. 
I also studied Art to a high level at school and lately I have begun writing. My favourite pieces are where all the facets of the arts are combined in one blogpost (and I still wear a failed English A Level with pride!) I really don't care if I have a readership of one or a million and if other people don't get it (OK some days I might care a little bit.) A new camera has been acquired for my birthday this coming weekend and I have particularly learned to love photograph the ordinary to make something a little less ordinary, whilst listening out for God-whispers.

I am continually astounded that I was ever entrusted, along with the Scotsman with the lives of three children. And there but for the grace of God we are all still here. Theoretically we are empty nesters, though I suspect the younger two offpsring may be semi-detached for a while yet. It is one of the generally recognised periods  of transition when the regular job of parenting has come to an and children no longer need you in the same way. And though I am terribly biased they are all fantastic young people who love Jesus, in spite of our parenting and some of the cr*p they have witnessed growing up as Preacher's Kids. I'm so looking forward to seeing them on my 50th birthday this weekend!

Learning to live with less
Financial challenges have meant living with less in general and being aware of where money was being frittered away. I used to comfort-shop, to buy something to cheer myself up after a difficult day, not things that were necessarily needed. That's stopped now and I don't think I will ever go back to it. We have also sold a number of books online to downsize.

Twitter Community
Finding real community, wisdom and gentle support from lovely people on Twitter. One of the hardest things to get used to in the last two years has been no longer being a minister's wife (the Scotsman is no longer a church-based minister, but continues in a similar vocation in a chaplaincy role). Unravelling from this for me, has been a major journey companion during transition. Meeting people who know this through twitter has at times been a life-saver, places and blogs where I have safely been able to say ME TOO all in capitals. It is undeniably precious and I am so grateful for it.

Works in progress

We have yet to complete the sale of our house in our previous place (complicated) and consequently live with continued financial pressure. A close family member faces cancer treatment imminently. I wish I could leave these and other things behind in the river that has been crossed, but that is the nature of walking with God, always journeying and learning on the way.
I have been unemployed for 18 months but am due to start some temporary work in just over a week. I still live with mild depression but now as opposed to say 10 years ago I have so much more awareness of God's presence within in it. 
I want to know that 'every blessing' is not always something happy or good. It might be a downright painful experience to be taken through, but if it is something that God has given to use and meet us in a deeper way, then I really can sing 'Blessed be the name of the Lord' in all its glorious fullness. Not in a banal, happy, let's be clappy, shallow and inconsequential way


So I look back, sing and feel the lyrics of another song ‘I will never be the same again’ which seems to have cropped up at significant moments during the last two years. (And I even forgive the cheesy 1980’s Amy Grant style chord shifts in the mid-section because the words are so good). I’m not totally certain exactly where I came from, nor how I got to this point, but I know I’ve shifted somehow across a dotted line and the door has closed on this chapter.

I will never be the same again
I can never return, I’ve closed the door
I will walk the path, I’ll run the race
And I will never be the same again

There are higher heights, there are deeper seas
Whatever you need to do, Lord do in me
The Glory of God, fills my life
And I will never be the same again

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