the waiting game.

I was standing at the sink when the clematis plant in our garden caught my eye.  I looked at the large buds beginning to bear the vibrant colour of what will soon become the petals, and smile at the anticipation of watching it bloom.  But then I looked away from the Clematis and scanned the rest of the garden.  I realised then that it’s unlikely I’ll catch those buds open out into flower.

The rest of the garden has very much shut up shop for winter.  I applaud those gardeners who meticulously work their garden into a seasonal rhythm so that their little piece of paradise is always brimming with flowers.  We can’t do that.  We call it a success when we have some kind of floral display in summer.  And I don’t think we’re alone.  I’d think that most gardens are geared around the warmer months.  Why?  So they can be enjoyed when it’s warm enough for us to be outside.  In the winter months we almost never go into the back garden.  When this clamatis blooms it will be beautiful but there will be no one out there to enjoy it.

So I watch this clematis, knowing the bigger picture, willing it to just hold on, to just wait it out a little longer until it gets a little warmer and everything else starts to grow again.  As beautiful as it is as a plant is it’s own right, I know it would be so much more magnificent if it could only reach it’s full potential when the rest of the garden is in bloom.  But as much as I silently urge the buds to wait for spring, I know that the plant is determined to flower as quick as it can.  Although the gardener knows that it will be be a waste for his flower to bloom when the rest of the garden lies dormant, the clematis is indifferent to its’ surroundings.

Do you see what’s coming next?  So often we have our own agenda.   The ‘gardener’ knows there is a reason for waiting but we’ll stick with our own agenda thank you very much, because it makes much more sense to us.  And even if our purpose is right, we want to hurry it through to full bloom as quickly as possible.  We live in a world where speed is almost always the priority.  When we eat out we don’t want to wait, When we stand at a store check-out we don’t want to wait.  When we order something on-line we don’t want to wait.  We want to lose weight but we don’t want to wait (or is that just me?!). We just don’t want to wait!  We fix our eyes on the prize and run at it full pelt, God help those who (even accidently) stand in our way.

If we’re honest we bring this mentality of instant gratification to our God given purposes.   We pray for something and expect next day delivery.  We feel God has laid something on our heart and then question our discernment as soon as obstacles block the path.  This is less about the what and more about the when.  You can see time and timeagain in the Bible where God has clearly laid out a plan to someone yet seems to have forgotten the fineprint.  Those minor little practicalities of how long it will take.  We often have our own timescale to the vision God has put on our heart, and it never includes hanging around.  Our action plans are based around human capacity and capability. All the while God whispers his plan for the vision he gave us and gently calls us to just wait for now.  But we don’t hear.  Our ears are filled with buzzing sound of our own agenda and the white noise of our lives.

If we push through with plans in our own time-plan and in our own strength they might well come through ok.  Just like my Clamatis it might even look quite good.  But it will miss out on just how incredible it could have been.  It will miss out on being part of something bigger and greater.  It’s ironic that misplaced passion and dedication to something could result in us missing out on part of what we were passionate about in the first place!

I don’t write this as a discerning wise woman.  I hate waiting.  I’m like  a cat after a mouse once an idea has been birthed within me and it makes complete sense to me to  just go for it (and keep on going for it full throttle until the idea comes to fruition!).  I’m impatient, impulsive and stubborn.  God bless my husband.  So from experience I know how frustrating it feels to have a vision that is only just beyond my reach.  I could tell you story after story of me bulldozing my way through something that I ‘know’ God wants me to do and do now.  For a long time the idea of having to wait days or weeks would frustrate the living daylights out of me.  I’ve not long realised that eternity isn’t as fussed about the difference between one week and six weeks, like we are.

It’s not a coincidence that throughout the bible God fulfills his promises after a season of waiting.  David was annointed as king years before it came to pass.  God gave Abraham and Sarah a wife a son after a painful time of waiting.  God told Joseph that his brothers would bow down to him but Joseph went through a whole lot of ‘life’ before it happened.  More often than not God takes us the long way round to reach what He has promised us.  There’s way more learning to be gained that way.

The psalms are packed full of this idea of waiting on God.  In Psalm 27:14 it says “Wait for the LORD;  be strong and take heart  and wait for the LORD”.    When we truly stop where we’re at and wait for God He always shows up.  Sometimes he shows up so quietly that you might not even know it.  The God who made everything we see and feel is not an instant gratification God.  He’s a God who wants you to rely on him, wait for  him, listen out for him.

We’ve forgotten how to wait.  Living in this society of gimme gimme gimme and now now now we just don’t know how to stop.  We need to learn how to relax into the peace that comes when you accept the God has the bigger picture and he has it all under control.  We need to learn as God’s people to rest in Him.  There is ultimate freedom in handing our time-scales over to God –  it means we don’t have to stress about the fast pace competition anymore!

I wrote earlier that we can have our eyes focused on the prize and run full pelt.  You may have received a specific calling from God and have had various confirmations that this is the direction God is taking you in.  That could be to develop a provision for local homeless people, or to plan and deliver witty but thought-provoking sketch for a church service, or to find a way to reach ‘unchurched’ young people in the community.  These are all awesome areas of ministry that God will have undoubtedly placed on our hearts.  And to put 100% into something is to give a worthy offering to Jesus.  But in everything we do we need to identify and remind ourselves of the ‘prize’ we’re fixing our eyes on – the one thing that makes everything else fade into the background.  Let’s look at what the bible says about fixing our eyes:

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrew 12)

It can happen so quietly without you even knowing it.  Taking our eyes off Jesus for just one moment and then our eyes become stuck on something else.  That’s why God asks us to daily die to ourself, to daily fix our eyes on him and to daily lay our agenda’s and time-frames at the cross.

It’s all a waiting game.

ooooooooooh what’s that link all about????

Lovely readers may I point you towards this very interesting link I have on my blogroll here to the right.  ladies and gentlemen, introducing to you this blogs baby sister – Knead to Knit . I am in no way leaving this blog but rather making space for something new in my life that runs the risk of taking over here if not diverted.  Does that make sense to you?  If not I blame all the medication forced upon my poorly self…

So in short – take a peek!

That is all.

Big love, hugs and smiles to you.

A title that has no title because I’m too sleepy to think of one.


This weekend the leadership of our church (and wives/husband) got away for a kind of vision/evaluation weekend. We stayed at Summer Hill Country House enjoying the wonderful hospitality of Mike and Patsy Derry, who were for a long time an integral part of the Emmanuel community.  With not even a hint of mere politeness, I cannot recommend this place enough.  A jaw-droppingly stunning building, great food and a meticulous attention to detail all make it the perfect get-away.  And no I’m not on commission.

On the Friday morning I went to talk to my GP about my sciatica since my physio is out of ideas.  So I’m going back to the consultant.  When the GP gently brought in the idea of surgery I tried hard to keep my cool.  Although I felt sick it didn’t come as a surprise.  I’ve been asking myself ‘what if’ for a few weeks now, knowing that sciatica should normally have settled itself by now.  But it’s not in the immediate future so I’m trying to throw it right to the back of my mind.  Another thing the GP wanted to talk about was how to optimise my pain relief.  Because I’ve been feeling more scatty and forgetful from the medication, he wants to pinpoint the culprit.  He thinks it’s the pregabalin so to find out he’s doubled my dose.  That’s one way of doing it.  Friday lunchtime I took double pregabalin and it hit me like a tonne of bricks.  I felt dizzy, nauseous and completely spaced out.  If this is what taking drugs is like then I totally don’t get the appeal.  Teenagers Don’t do it!! you’ll only just vomit and wreck your party clothes!! Anyway, I digress.  So I call up the doctor’s surgery in my drug induced state begging to get a phone consultation with my GP to ask if I could lower my dose again.  When the receptionist said that wasn’t possible I burst into tears and she put through an urgent priority query.  When I called back later the GP has left a message telling me to stick with it or perhaps drop one tablet. Uh!!! Which takes us back to the weekend away.  Did I mention we stayed at a lovely guest house?  You’d really love it…

Cutting a long story short I tried the dose again on Saturday – it was awful again, and I spent most of the afternoon sleeping.  At this point The Husband put his foot down saying this couldn’t go on.  The annoying point is that in the evening my back went into spasm.  I had a bag of frozen sweetcorn to put across my back and that eased it massively.  Today I took my original dose and I’ll deal with the doctor tomorrow.  I know he’s got another plan up his sleeve and so guessing that my medication will change again over the next week and Rob being away with work I’ve called in the cavalry.  When I say cavalry I mean my mummy.

Despite the sciatica, the weekend away was restful and refreshing.  There was space to think and regain perspective on everything that amounts to my world.  So with help at hand, I’m ready to make this a good week.

Five things I’ll try not to do this week:

– moan too much about being in pain

– Eat chocolate and crisps

– Let the laundry mount up

– watch too much Desperate housewives

– Overwork my back

Five things I’ll really try to do this week:

laugh every day

– knit every day

– take a load of photographs

– remember to do my physio

– cross off something on my work’s to-do list before I add more on

Knitting? Yes knitting.  I’m 28 and I love to knit.  This is the new love of my life and I’ll be writing more about it it soon. I’ll be putting up my challenge 52 photos up soon.  I’ll be putting some more recipes up here soon…But for now a hot water bottle, a good book and a cosy bed await me.

It was just one of those…

Man….A…..Live.

Not a day to go down as one of the Greats.

I think I’ve drained all the optimism from my physiotherapist. The guy who, a month ago was all ‘Hey – don’t worry’ and ‘hey, you’ll be right in no time at all’ is now ‘erm…as he flicks through my notes, so we’ve tried this…..and we’ve tried that…Yeah, erm…..’. Not so reassuring. He’s giving it two more sessions to try acupuncture before sending me back to the consultant for ‘further investigation’. I figured it was all about stimulating nerves or muscles and though I despise needles I think if my physio told me It would help to stand on my head in a gorilla costume I’d try it. But now, after reading up on it… whats going on with the life force idea? I’m not sure I want anyone trying to restore the flow of my Qi thankyou very much! Eek. To make the short term future just a little more bleak I counted up my medication to find i’ve run out of some of them. And yep – I can’t pick them up until after 4pm Thursday.

Really – what more could go wrong?? I mean it’s not like I’d grab a tube of superglue to fix Chlo’s broken plastic ring, squirt the stuff everywhere and stick my left finger to my thumb. Oh wait, yes that did happen. But it was ok, I had a calm reassuring voice over my shoulder as covered my whole hand in fairy liquid and running it under hot water.

“Heather just rip them apart! There’s glue everywhere! Pull! you’ll just have to deal with fingers afterwards – rip them apart!!!

Such tenderness.

The Husband had to dash off to a meeting so I hauled the girls upstairs so they’d be in bed ontime. Fast forward half an hour and Ruby’s lying next to my in my bed staring up at the ceiling, reflecting on her triumph in the bedtime wars.

It is definitely bedtime.

my heart broke a little today.

My heart broke a little this morning. As I tried to piece together what was and what was not said in an interview with American Pastor Mark Driscoll. The interview has apparently quoted him with this:

“Let’s just say this: right now, name for me the one young, good Bible teacher that is known across Great Britain. You don’t have one – that’s the problem. There are a bunch of cowards who aren’t telling the truth.”

I truly, with all that is in me, hope that he has been misqusoted. The statement reeks of an us-and-them mentality. There is no competition. There is no us and them. There is one church of Jesus christ!

There is no space for kudos or fame in the kingdom of God. Name a good bible teacher that is known across Great Britain? Known? To who? Why does that matter? But I could write and write about British men and women who live wholeheartedly to fire the gospel of Jesus Christ into the hearts of people who don’t know him. Mike pilavachi has impacted on thousands upon thousands of young people to live sold out lives for God. Andy Hawthorne has shaken the very core of Manchester. Nicky Gumbel has poured years and years into the Alpha Course which has reached 17 million people accross the world – sharing the news of Jesus.

This is not patriotism. I don’t boast of these people – Id offend them if I did. They are just people. People who love Jesus with all their heart, soul and mind. No one is perfect. We all let opportunities slip through our fingers. We all let selfishness or even fear get in our way of being light in a dark world sometimes. Regardless of which side of the Atlantic they live on.

I really do hope that statement was fabricated. But on his blog, Mark Driscoll directs this to the ‘Brits’ in general:

Please do not shy away from talking about sin and allowing your preaching and teaching to devolve into vaguely spiritual self-help principles. Please do not be ashamed of the foolishness of the cross, where Jesus died in our place for our sins enduring the wrath of God we deserve

Is this really what British christians look like? In a country built on tradition and a colourful history I could see how easily an ignorant perception could be made. Oh God never let me become ashamed of the cross. But as I look to my own pastor who, with fierce determination, lives to move his flock to be the hands and feet of Jesus where we live, and boldly speaks the word of God into our hearts, the words of Mark driscoll feel alien to me.

Of all the christians in this country who have impacted my life – imperfect? Absolutely. Cowards? Never.

yesterday.

Yesterday morning was heaven. Apart from the sick child lying next to me on the sofa. But hey, she gave me the glorious morning so it didn’t do much to dampen it. Waiting for a delivery and a sick child really does give you the excuse to stay at home on the sofa reading blogs and knitting whilst cuddling a cute and snotty little creature. I would have done housework but The husband instructed, no – demanded that I do what I can to rest my poor painful trapped sciatic nerve. I’m only being an obedient wife.

I’m pretty sure I’m not only mum that longs for just a little bit of time out. That’s the irony of us putting our kids on time out when they’ve been naughty – I’d be naughty for some of that! Not a lot, just a little bit would do. So when that little bit comes along you run at it gleefully ready to embrace it. And embrace it I did this morning. Then I was raring to go. Bring on the laundry, bring on the tidying up, bring on sweeping and wiping. Unless it’s The Husband reading this, and then I was totally resting.

The poor little snotty creature lying next to me armed with a roll of toilet paper passed me a handful of the (clean) toilet paper and asked to make her a model. It’s the least I could do. I was quietly confident that I could make quite a few shapes – a banana, or a ball, or at a push and shot of creativity even a heart. She asked for a pirate ship.

2012

As of yesterday The husband exited the Teaching profession. His P45 will be in the post. This is all good stuff. He’s been waiting and the waiting paid off. However. His work now will be home based. This will shake up our world as we know it – territories are being threatened. I know for a fact he’ll be on the loo when I need it. I’m pretty sure the last chocolate digestive will magically disappear. I even fear…But will fight it to the death – that sky sports will become the background noise in what was my sanctuary of peace when I was not at work and while the kids were at school.

I feel it would be appropriate helpful absolutely necessary to draw up a written agreement outlining the Husband’s rights, responsibilites and restrictions in his new place of work. It won’t be pretty.

This will not dampen my enthusiasm for the new year. I grab any opportunities for fresh new opportunies, challenges, perspectives. I was the kid that got excited over new exercise books at school. Maybe this enthusiasm is intensified because over the past three months there has been a lot of time that I have had to be still. For someone who is go go go, this stillness makes you think a lot. So I have a load of 2012 challenges for me to get stuck into and a handful of 2012 wishes that are out of my control but choosing to hope they’ll happen anyway. I am yet again going to attempt the photo 52 challenge, this time giving it my best shot.

2012….

My baby will start school

Me mother will turn the big 6-0

I will step into the last year of my twenties.

We may possibly have our first ever term-time holiday as a family (please Lord!)

This year I have no doubt that the kids and Youth ministry at Emmanuel will see me stretched, frazzled, intimidated frightened and bamboozled, but mostly feeling completely privileged to be doing what I do.

Here’s to a year of possibilty, choosing the right perspective and grabbing opportunities to really make it count.