Mental Health Day

Yesterday was the global mental health day. The world health organisation finds mental health important enough to have a yearly day dedicated to it. It’s even more appropriate this year with so many people suffering from poor mental health, of course brought on by the Covid pandemic restrictions.

I too find myself impacted by and barely coping with all that has gone on in the world in the last 8 months. The world as we know it is no more. The outlook of it returning to something similar is slim. And I too am wondering what that means for my long term goals. The speed of change is so fast, it’s very hard to keep up. Every day something else changes from the day before.

By now I am probably Covid fatigued. I understand the need to protect, but something inside me is starting to be rebellious. The impact of the restrictions are now being felt in all layers of society. More and more people are not taking the restrictions serious, tired of being told how to live.

Geert has been furloughed since April. He is now working just 16 hours a week. For a pastor that is so hard. Just when people are looking for guidance and answers, our pastors are not able to be the spiritual leaders we want. And the uncertainty that goes with it.. will he loose his job? Even the ‘street pastor’ program in Watford town centre is on hold for fear of getting or spreading Covid. People will miss out on the opportunity to have someone pray with them.

With him there are many others in similar situations. At church we have a charity called ‘One Vision’ which is busier than ever bringing food to people who can’t go out or have no means to buy. They also launched their branch of Mental health wellbeing yesterday to coincide with World Mental Health day. You may want to check out the website or find them on Facebook.

Jesus said not to worry. He knows the little birds and cares for them as much as He knows and cares for me. Borrowing trouble from tomorrow may make us miss opportunities today. Opportunities to be grateful and do good.

Something I am trying to keep in mind and apply to my own life.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

Trusting is the Hardest Thing

Don’t you have it sometimes, when all things just come together in a bad way, and you do not know if you need to turn right or left? Trusting that Someone is still in control is not so easy. You want to just do your own thing, and hope for the best, as you think that is ultimately Gods way.

God uses every decision we make, that’s very true. He will not let us fall, and He will always be there to catch us if we do. But sometimes it feels He is so far away.

I find myself caught once again, not knowing what will happen, or how things will unfold. The Covid situation has many folks spooked, including me. Masks are mandatory everywhere, so it’s very visible wherever you turn. Even if shops are mostly stocked again, the thought of the second wave is never far away. The news won’t let us forget it even if we tried! We are told to stay sensible or there will be another lock down.

The economy has a huge impact. Job losses, protection of self… similar in Europe as in America. We keep each other updated, calls, texts, Facebook. We hear from friends and co workers about those who suffer. Money is tight for many people and thank God there are charities like the One Vision in Watford who help those most afflicted!

I guess I can count myself blessed I did not loose my job like so many others.

This seems like a very somber post, but really it’s just trying to tell myself God is still in control. It’s His world, as the beautiful song says

This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

The writer referenced Jacob’s exclamation “the Lord is in this place” from Genesis 28:16

Trusting Him is hard, especially when you can’t see the road, or where it’s leading to. But He is not forgotten about me or you. The Lord is in this place!

Rest

Some days are harder than other ones. Am sure we all experience it. Some days you don’t feel like getting up, or getting into your normal routine. Working from home seems to take away the boundary between your own life and your work life. So that feeling of not wanting to start a day is more profound.

Having stayed home now for 4 months, focusing on things to do at home, planning outings outside the home as swift as possible, it makes you reassess lots of things. I love being out and about, exploring, shopping, going places. But it’s not safe yet in the same way as it was last year. Hobbies at home is the thing.. I have discovered I love writing with fountain pens, I read more, and I crochet. My Netflix list is getting smaller and I rediscovered my love for history and documentaries.

In all that though, rest seems to have been given a new meaning. Previously rest was done in your house when you returned from being out. What is rest now? It’s ceasing activity, and relaxing the body. But with the always on mentality now working from home it’s so much harder to find true rest.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

That verse has gotten new meaning for me too. I am very much a worrier, which does not make things easier. But that verse in the Bible tells me to tell God about all my thoughts and worries and anxiety and in return He will give me rest. This is true rest. Rest for the soul. It’s a stop thinking of my self and start trusting He will give me peace. This is not the rest of relaxation but the rest of a soul that trusts in God.

Today is another day of Sabbath rest. Another opportunity to cease normal life and focus only on Him. And that is what I am going to try to do. To stop carrying my worries and turning it over to the One who promises me rest.

I hope you will find rest today also.

Re-opening

Who knew that our lives would be so consumed with lock downs, virus discussions, job losses, missed dentist and hair appointments and now re-opening strategies. How life has changed in the last 6 weeks.

The thought that keeps going through my head is ‘will life return to what it was or is there a new normal now’. I have realised that I do not like working from home for extended periods of time. I miss my colleagues and the interactions. I miss wearing something other than trainers and yoga pants. I don’t like seeing friends and family only through a social media platform. I miss shopping, or getting a coffee. I miss all the options and possibilities I used to have. I particularly miss doing all the spontaneous things I was privileged to do before.., going away to explore new places, having an afternoon tea with my daughter, booking a night away on holiday.

We just passed Easter. A pretty uneventful period under the current circumstances, without all the things that make Easter special. The actual event which is remembered at Easter and the following weeks after the death and resurrection was also one of very rapid change. The followers of Jesus went from learning from Him, eating with Him to being without Him and having to redirect and transform their lives. The Holy Spirit was promised to them as a Comforter and Guide, but truth is.. their lives were never the same again. They had to put in practice now all they had learned in the previous years under Jesus guidance and instruction. The went from students to leaders, from observers to doers with the help of the Holy Spirit.

I get that we really can’t compare these situations, but maybe we can draw strength from it under our current restrictions and changes. We too have to learn to live differently and do things differently. We also have been given the Holy Spirit as Comforter in our lives. We can choose our reactions and responses to the new normal.

One of my favourite songs is ‘Holy Spirit rain down’

Holy Spirit rain down
Rain down
Oh Comforter and Friend
How we need Your touch againHoly Spirit rain down
Rain down
Let Your power fall
Let Your voice be heard
Come and change our hearts
As we stand on Your Word
Holy Spirit
Rain down

That’s my comfort too in this time of change. Life may re-open in some areas. Life may be different. But the Holy Spirit is as much a Comforter today as it was in the time of the disciples.

Let the re-opening adjustments begin!!

Clouds

Tonight’s sunset was so pretty. Hints of pink in the sky, intensifying colours as the sun set and lit up the undersides of the clouds. The phrase ‘each cloud has a silver lining’ just popped into my head. The clouds all had a sliver of silver around it.

I have to say, not sure I have been able to find my silver lining just yet. I miss my family, my friends, my colleagues. I miss the banter in the office corridors, the social interaction. I don’t think I am an extrovert, but I find myself craving for interaction and a sense of normality.

What if this is the new normal? What if the world will not go back to how it was in early March? What if this is the beginning of the end of all we know? For sure we have all learned by now we can manage.. although some better than others.

Jesus wrote in Matt 10:31 ‘do not fear, you are worth more than many sparrows’. We are more valuable than the tiny birds we see everywhere around. In this time of fear, when we hear stories of death and sorrow every single day, we can be assured that we matter to God. God has ultimate power over our whole being but He exercises that power with mercy and love. That’s the story of Easter in a nutshell. Jesus loves us so much, He knows all about us and even gave up Hos life for us so we may live.

I may not have found my silver lining in my current circumstances, but I can rest assured that Jesus is my silver lining in the Corona virus cloud hanging over my head. He cares for me, knows my concerns and even knows every hair on my head. What a comfort that is!

Have you found your silver lining?

Clouds

Tonight’s sunset was so pretty. Hints of pink in the sky, intensifying colours as the sun set and lit up the undersides of the clouds. The phrase ‘each cloud has a silver lining’ just popped into my head. The clouds all had a sliver of silver around it.

I have to say, not sure I have been able to find my silver lining just yet. I miss my family, my friends, my colleagues. I miss the banter in the office corridors, the social interaction. I don’t think I am an extrovert, but I find myself craving for interaction and a sense of normality.

What if this is the new normal? What if the world will not go back to how it was in early March? What if this is the beginning of the end of all we know? For sure we have all learned by now we can manage.. although some better than others.

Jesus wrote in Matt 10:31 ‘do not fear, you are worth more than many sparrows’. We are more valuable than the tiny birds we see everywhere around. In this time of fear, when we hear stories of death and sorrow every single day, we can be assured that we matter to God. God has ultimate power over our whole being but He exercises that power with mercy and love. That’s the story of Easter in a nutshell. Jesus loves us so much, He knows all about us and even gave up Hos life for us so we may live.

I may not have found my silver lining in my current circumstances, but I can rest assured that Jesus is my silver lining in the Corona virus cloud hanging over my head. He cares for me, knows my concerns and even knows every hair on my head. What a comfort that is!

Have you found your silver lining?

God is in Control

Sometimes these old hymns just jolt me back in reality, their messages just as relevant now as when it was written. This particularly song is ‘This is My Fathers world’

In this crazy world we are now experiencing, its not so easy to see that our God is still in control. the media surrounds us with stories of death and sickness, shortages of critical equipment and all around doom. If you are not getting bombarded with news stories, or see it on Facebook or whatever other social media tools you use, you see it all around you. Driving along the motorway, the message on billboards and traffic sights is clear: stay home, wash your hands, stop spreading the virus.

It’s hard to not think about the passages in Matt 25 which speak of the end times, of last events being quick events. The questions we have to ask ourselves ‘am I ready‘. ‘Do I believe He is in control’ ‘what would I say when I see Him’. This virus came on so fast and the world as we know it has ceased to exist. We do not know if things will go back to before, but there is one thing I know for sure: God is still in control.

My dad reminded me that sometimes situations are utilised even if we did not realise it yet. His brother immigrated to America long before I was born. My mum, dad and I visited short before he passed away in 2017. My cousin and I clicked and have been friends ever since. And now, the year 2020 I find myself in their house awaiting the passing of this current virus situation. Maybe there is beauty in the fact my dad was not able to see his brother throughout his whole life. God is clearly in control!

The last verse of this poem which was set to music after the author died, sums it up so nicely:

This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

Women’s Day

It’s the day in the year that women are celebrated. Their achievements through history that have made an impact. In today’s world issues are also highlighted that impact women.

How are you celebrating?

While I find women’s issues important, Inequality in the workplace still exists and women’s rights are not guaranteed, I will not specifically celebrate today. I want to celebrate every day!

Proverbs 31 in the Bible specifically mentions how the ideal woman behaves. Industrious, noble, gracious. Sometimes it’s worn as a badge. I have not decided if being called a Proverbs 31 woman is a compliment or not.

I am me, however. Unique, wonderfully made. As are you. And in my uniqueness I hope to be positively contributing to this world. In my own small circle, as well as in my circles of influence, work, society, church.

In my uniqueness I do crazy things sometimes. Being with friends throwing myself off hills in a tube, driving around trying to find eagles, finding rest in my crochet work etc.

That’s what I think Jesus asks of us. To be accepting that we are all made in His image, as it says in Psalm 139:14 ‘For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

So I’ll be spending women’s day appreciating that I am special in the eyes of God. As are you. I hope you’ll remember that every day!

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Another Day

Time has gone so fast, and I realise we have not written anything for some time! The new year started and the family is already back into the swing of things. It’s almost like Christmas never happened!

It’s now the 3rd Sabbath of the month and I guess it’s no longer appropriate to wish folks happy New Year!

However, that’s just what this is all about. New year, new beginnings, good intentions.

I did not really make any. I know I break them as soon as I make them. But still, reflection of the year past and figuring out the future year can’t really be escaped. So caught up in the hype, I did at least tell myself that this year i would try and think of my own needs a little more. Spending time doing things I love just because I love them.

If you ask how I have fared these first 3 weeks of the year.. Uhm.. not so good. However there is one thing I really love doing that relaxes me… Crocheting. I prefer not to do that alone though, it’s fun to do that together with my daughter. But as I am often away, I do find myself often crocheting by myself. Each stitch is done in a rhythm, while my thoughts freely flow. Maybe it’s just a daily reflection, going through the day, self examining and often praying for those around me.

Come to think of it, maybe that should be my good intention for the rest of this year. Starting each day with devotion, and finishing each day with reflection.

My current devotional is ‘my utmost for His highest’ by Oswald Chambers. I subscribe and daily the thought for that day is emailed to me. (https://utmost.org)

Maybe this year we can motivate each other to keep going?

Crochet

I know this is not the first post with that title, but as I am proud of where we have gotten to, this is another post about our crochet adventures!

We managed to get our creations in a Craft Coop in High Wycombe town Center, and Melody spends a couple mornings/afternoons in the shop to help out. Valuable experience is gained and contacts made.

The busiest season is coming up and we are preparing for an additional fair at Stanborough Church plus 2 pop up shops in the Reading Business park. All very exciting!

We are not big sellers yet, but we are selling and therefore I am very proud! Mostly of Melody who is very creative and trying new things.

So if you are around, why not visit us on one of our locations, or check out our shop here on the website!