Shadow Of Victory

Monday, 28 September 2009

September 28th Waving at Willow

I am getting to the end of my Willow Warbles...but cant decide if I am waving goodbye as it is now over 6 weeks since we were there...or if I am waving hello as its only 3 more days till the Summit comes to Bracknell...Have you booked in yet...if not..its not too late and I would love to see you there ..its top quality stuff and not to be missed. I cant wait to be there...
I am serving in car park ( yippee )and really looking forward to hanging out with the team and welcoming everyone to this two day conference. In a way it will also be great to hear the speakers once more and see if God has anything else to say to me or to confirm that which I have already picked up.

I have blogged in great detail re Ruts and Trenches and to recap..
my weight issues
social times and friendships
my leadership gifting
my techie phobia

I have had some good feedback from all these points raised and am encouraged once more that you take the time to email me or leave a comment on the blog for others to benefit from too. Sadly I seem to also get one or two negative emails so would appreciate your prayers as I deal with these...

I would love to meet up with some of you and thought I may do an Open House kinda thing one evening if you thought this might be something we could enjoy and benefit from.We could pick a topic that I have uncovered and share our lives a bit deeper and see where it takes us?? Let me know if this is something that might appeal and please do feel free to invite me into your life for a coffee or chat one day....

This isn't a long blog entry re Willow..just touching base ....I have a couple of things I may blog about later this week and then hopefully I can finish up Willow after the Summit weekend.

Friday, 18 September 2009

September 18th...Wading through Willow.

I said in last entry it would be my final one re apologies but here I am again...but I am hoping to get this finished before I go on holiday.I am still on the subject of Ruts...Trenches...and Horizons....and wading my way through the weight issues. Its funny old thing being fat....for most people being fat...(or overweight if we want to be polite about it..)it is fairly apparent why we are that way..unless there is an underlying medical reason or on some medications which blow us up...but apart from that it is nearly always that we overeat.Whether like me it is a sugar thing...or that chips and bread are the downfall or too much pasta and is too much you get fat versus eat less and lose weight.

The other thing about obesity is that it cant be hidden....many other things that people struggle with in the realm of addictions can be hidden...I found out recently that a woman I have known for several years..smokes...and I never suspected or noticed as she keeps it hidden...I suspect many folk have addictions to pornography..medications...shopaholics...alcohol ...swearing....telling lies...stealing...who knows what hidden things there are in peoples lives....But you cant hide is there..right in front of our eyes.

Strangely...if we saw someone inject drugs into their veins or knock back three bottles of whisky we may be tempted to tackle them about it..especially if they were our friends and if they were Christians we would be more likely to be in their lives and looking to help them beat the addiction...but obesity...or gluttony rarely tackled. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of friends who have spoken out about my weight over the years and most of my friends are just as likely to share my cake or ice cream than talk to me about it.!!!

If I am truly honest I wonder if I have the inner strength to once again make that climb out of the trench.I have failed so many times that I feel defeated even before I begin. It is hard to explain how defeated I many respects its as if I have given up this battle and just laid down . It just seems far too much effort and yet what lies ahead for me if I don't choose to make a move ...ill health...inability to function well...tiredness and fatigue making it difficult to continue my work with children....too fat to wear my lovely yellow car parking jacket and run around my favourite place church car park.!!and I guess if I stay in this trench..early death brought about by poor health.

I am off on holiday this next week and because I am so fat...I know I will be uncomfortable in the heat...I know that the swimming cossie will reveal me in all my glory to strangers round the pool and on the beach..just as well they will be I wouldn't want any of you lot to see me.!! I know I will tire when out walking and each and every time I am limited I will be shouting deep in my spirit..."you stupid stupid woman!" see this is what every one who has addictions says every time they fail to keep themselves free..we pound ourselves mercilessly and beat ourselves up and we keep on trying and trying to break free and altho I cant speak for others I know that I constantly beg God to help release me cleanse deliver heal me....I am constantly confessing and repenting sometimes on a daily basis.....

This Rut or Thorn is now out in the the prayer meeting this evening we were praying re our church fellowship..that we would be a community where people could be open and vulnerable and whatever circumstances we find ourselves in that we could talk openly and share without feelings of shame or condemnation..or thinking that people would judge us .....In this last year as I have opened myself up in a deeper way than ever before I can say that it has been immensely liberating and sharing some very deep and painful experiences both past and present has brought a real freedom to my spirit and has somehow or other deepened the precious friendships I had and opened up the way for new friends to come into my life.

So...where to from here.....I have pretty much finished blogging about all the things that God spoke to me about at Willow....I am so looking forward to the Summit being held at Kerith Community Church on the 2nd and 3rd of October and if you haven't booked in yet....please do consider coming along as it will inspire you.

For me and my rut...I am once more going to aim for the horizon....I cant promise to make it but I am not giving up...I cant give feet may be made of clay...but my spirit is once more scanning the edge of the trench and looking for footholds to climb out. Perhaps one or two of you would lean down and grab my hand...perhaps help me start the climb by praying for me....perhaps asking me gently if I am moving forward....perhaps walk some of the way with me....perhaps walk ahead of me so I don't lose my way..perhaps walk behind me in case I am tempted to turn back....perhaps hold my hand when I am lonely...perhaps laugh with me when I am striding on madly ..perhaps cry with me when I fail....perhaps bring me back to earth when i get too cocky...perhaps speak words of encouragement when I falter...perhaps tell me often that I am more than a conqueror...perhaps cheer me on when I reach a goal .... perhaps just be quiet when you sense I cant cope with words...perhaps give me a hug when my shoulders droop and the tears of failure fall once again.....and when I have run this race with my eyes fixed on the prize and reach the finishing line ...perhaps we can celebrate together in the presence of our precious saviour Jesus.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

September 17th.Working through Willow.....

This will be my last post re Willow Creek and it takes me nicely into the next "thorn " that I was planning on writing about.I am still on the subject of "Ruts and Trenches "...and this last one has been the most difficult for me to blog about but at the risk of repeating myself "writing is my best chance of happiness". For me the whole act of writing it down and getting it out in the open has been hugely healing and I find myself growing more "together" within my heart..spirit ..and soul.

So...this rut....I have been so far down in the trenches with this for so many years that I cant even see the horizon really...I peek above the edge at times then find it so much easier just to slip back down into the warmth and security of the trench.I am talking about my life long battle with my weight.

I long...but in truth I had no problem with my weight as a child or teenager...the few photos of me I have seen or possess show a normal sized 5 year old and an 8 year old and a fairly good looking size 14 when I met Chris at age 17. The battle began when I became sexually active and as many of you know Chris and I lived together for 5 years and had our first son when I was 19.

Through years of counselling ...both Christian and non Christian ...I have come to understand a lot about why that happened and where the connection started etc.and it has its roots in the sexual abuse that went on through most of my childhood.I am not going to labour on this as its doesn't make good reading and its not an ongoing issue but the fact remains that being overweight is tied into my sexual image of myself.

I have climbed out of the ruts many times and those of you who have known me the longest will have seen me lose weight quite spectacularly..many times.!!! I think I once added up the amount of weight I have lost over 30 years and its something like 100 stones...hee hee...but sadly its the same 5-6 stone over and over again.!! Again..those of you who know me will know i don't overeat ordinary wont find me eating 6 course meals or eating huge portions of chips or addiction is sweet things....give me a choice between a steak and a pudding and I will forgo the steak every time.....give me a choice between a packet of crisps and a chocolate biscuit and I will always choose the chocolate biscuit.

I have delved into this quite deeply over the years and memories have surfaced over and over again in that I was given sweets whenever the abuse happened and whenever life got too tough for my mum or whoever I was living with at the time then decent meals and cooking was always the first to go and rice puddings and bread and jam were the menu of convenience. I was given bread and sugar for my tea almost everyday and was sent to bed often with a drink of hot sugary tea and jammy sarnies.Consequently at my worst you will find me eating chocolate in bed.!!!

In 2007 I lost over 6 stone in weight and had counselling at the same time and many of these issues were raised in the sessions and I honestly thought I had climbed over the top of the trench and was making a bee line for the horizon... Sadly I have once more lost this battle and have spent this last year putting a fair percentage of the weight back on once again.The counselling revealed that it wasn't the sexual issues that was the main cause now but the two fold fact that YES I have a sugar addiction but also whenever my emotions are surface I then seem to need the fix of sugar to help me get back some control. This isn't just depression type of emotion but its also any kind of high anger and even great joy can cause me to hit the chocolate.I know that for many years I was " trained " not to show emotion of any kind and now find it difficult to let myself be free enough to show my emotions for fear of rejection..abandonment or of some one being offended...and perhaps I am afraid of being too happy in case it doesn't hit the choccie or ice cream..or muffin and be in a safe sugar haze...

This blog entry is too long so I will continue it tomorrow.

Friday, 4 September 2009

September 4th Working through Willow ..cont.

Chris has been called out to help Son In Law to mend car sneaking off to post on the blog till he comes back. I appreciate all your comments and emails...I admit to only publishing the ones which I think will be helpful for others to read. I thought I would continue this section of the blog with one of the other "Ruts " I felt God had spoke to about.I have one more to follow and hope to get to that over weekend.

Social Times......I admit to being a bit of a split part of me wants to have lots of contact with friends and then another part of me wants to be on my own and at times I can find myself confused between the two.I know that many of you think I have loads of buddies and am always busy....but the truth is that I spend a lot of time on my own and most evenings Chris and I are on our own. We have a couple of people we hang out with fairly regularly both individually and as couples but apart from that our main contacts with others is at church or life group or meetings. At times when I hear of parties that people have or have been to..and gatherings and I wonder why I or we are not invited....I honestly cant remember the last party I was invited too.So the myth that I have loads of friends and always busy is exactly that ...a myth.

A lot of the feelings I have about socialising is still wrapped up in the past....still feel that no-one actually wants to spend time with me...or invite me anywhere....and going to Willow with a dozen people who don't figure in my social life was a huge step of faith for truth it was a huge step of fear really.Hanging out with people I don't know well is my worst kind of nightmare and I know that God wants this to change. This "rut" has controlled so much of my life that it seems normal and I know its one big thing I am aiming to change and have already been changing.If you have read my previous blog entries you will know that it turned out really well and I felt 100% accepted and wanted and as far as I am concerned I had a great time with everyone.

The first thing we did when we came back from Willow we had a gathering of people round for the evening...this was about half we knew fairly well and half we only knew a bit....probably the first time we have had so many in our home for years.I was really nervous and was sure hardly any of them would come...but of the 18 we invited....16 came....and with Chris and I there were 18 people here and despite the panic about the space and room etc...I really enjoyed the evening. Fortunately it was a cool evening and we were able to have the drinks and nibbles in garden and altho I suggested we go into living room to view the photos in 2 lots they all piled in at the same time and I just went with the flow....bums were everywhere..on floor ..on arm of chairs...on kiddies chair....whatever..we just had a fun time..For those of you who regularly have people round it may seem a small thing..but for me it was an immense mountain for me to climb and I am quite proud of myself.

The second thing I have done was quite amusing really....I read an article in Sunday paper about Facebook and how we have so many virtual friends but how many would actually meet you for a coffee.!. The author of the article had posted on FB..."anyone fancy a coffee tomorrow" and altho she has 320 friends listed in her FB ..only 2 people replied and none were able to actually meet her. So....I am amazed that I did this as it is sooooo out of my comfort zone but I did the same .On the Sunday evening I posted that I was free Monday and did anyone want to meet for a coffee?? I had quite a few replies saying that folk would have loved to but were working or whatever and I had one reply from a young woman who I know...but not well. I have never socialised with her...never had coffee with her and as I was old enough to be her mother I was quite surprised that she wanted to have a coffee with me. Anyway ..we met up and had a lovely hour or so together and I got to know her a wee bit better ....and more than that I felt again quite proud of myself that I had taken the step and enjoyed myself with a lovely and very courageous young woman who is going through a tough time in her life.

The third aspect of this "Rut" is to accept fully that people do want to spend time with me....I have been mentored this last year by Caroline and so many times this came up in our chatting...that I struggled with anyone actually wanting to be with me and despite Caroline saying so many times that she was enjoying the time and had got so much out of it herself and was sad the actual mentoring time was coming to an end...I still was struggling to believe it fully. We arranged to go out for a meal to bring the formal part to a close (we have known each other for decades so we are not disappearing from each others lives )and again she said she had been looking forward to seeing me and excited to catch up with me and I truly felt as if I absorbed her words into my spirit without any of the usual doubts creeping in. Caroline may sometimes have wondered if mentoring me had produced fruit or was of benefit but as far as I am concerned it has been a timely and God given intervention at just the right stage of my life and I am deeply grateful for her friendship.

Finally .....I have been overwhelmed by the feedback from you girls (and the odd one or two guys who also read the blog ) who read my blog and deeply appreciate your comments / emails and again this has helped me to realise that I am not alone in some of the feelings and insecurities I have shared. I believe that isolation both in the physical and the spiritual is a huge problem for us and perhaps knowing that we all at times have feelings in common has helped each of us to face our fears...feelings and pain. I am also aware that some of you have shared that you would like to chat more about stuff and one of the ways in which I am aiming to get out of this "rut" is to make myself more available to friends. By that I mean....YOU.....Please please please dont get caught in the myth that I have loads of friends and am always busy...I am not!!! I am here and I am looking to build on the friendships I have and also to make new ones too. I have recently re-connected with an old friend who used to be in the church....we didnt hang out socially much but we did hang out in various church activities and as a result of the blog and FB we are hoping to get together in next couple of weeks for coffee and catch up and I am sooo looking forward to that.

John ch 16 v 12 and 13 says this..."My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you. Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no-one than this ,that he lay down his life for his friends."

Getting out of this trench/rut and heading for the horizon is going to be an adventure..a challenge...a joy....will you join me in this "loving one another "and see what God will do??

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

September 1st ...Nothing to do with Willow

Taking a detour feel free to pass me by ...just need some time out to blog some stuff that is going on in the hope it gives me some new perspective.

Decision making....I wonder if other people find themselves swinging wildly like a pendulum from one decision to another.? I have had a few decisions to make in last
2-3 months and I have struggled big time.I make a firm decision then a few days later I change my mind.

I have tried to apply Godly wisdom and and asked close friends for their advice and wisdom....I have asked God to speak clearly to me.....I have talked it over with Chris and mulled it over in dreams and written lists of Pros and Cons.....all the things that people suggest and yet I am still swinging about like a mad thing.If the decisions I make only affect me then it would be so easy but as they involve other people too it becomes more complicated. Would that life would be so easy as to actually have a clear statement from God....a "thus sayeth the Lord" but sadly I don't get that kind very often and it is in the searching for the answers that God reveals His perhaps all this has been a "searching" process to get to the place He wants me to be. I know from experience that God uses every situation as an opportunity to develop my character and build my faith.

My church involvement is one of the decisions I need to make and that doesn't just depend on me but on a multitude of other aspects which all need to be looked at and talked through with other people. My work involvement I continue to childmind and take on new children ? ..sounds like an easy ..yes or no...but two families are looking to me to care for their precious children and I never take this lightly and always want to give the family my very best and its not an easy thing for me to say Yes or again I have to think it through carefully .

Linked in with all this has been a tough few weeks anyway....August is the month that we have our annual review for our IVA...and that means looking at all our Income and Expenditure for last we have to get bank stuff...receipts...salary slips and all my tax accounts sorted and photocopied....we have to justify any increases we need and then once we send of all the photocopies we then have to wait for the IP to let us know if we are okay for another year or whether they say we have to increase our monthly payments.,Whilst we completely hold our hands up and say...okay we got into this is nevertheless an exhausting business to have someone scrutinise every aspect of your financial life.We sometimes think we would have been better declaring bankruptcy but as we have got this far...3 years into a 5 year term we can see the finishing line and will be debt free in August 2011.

This last few days I have felt very tearful and slightly unwell...I often think when I have a spiritual this is often followed by a spiritual low and I am not that surprised by how I am feeling. I am grateful for the friends who put up with me and my ongoing "will I ??.wont I??." But at the same time I do need to make decisions and make them soon...The childminding one actually needs to be made today...or at latest tomorrow so I can inform the families I am off now to have another look at the lists of Pros and Cons..altho I am pretty certain I have made the decision anyway. A lovely friend said to me today..something like..."at which point in the pendulum process did you know Gods peace??" and I guess that is the starting and finishing point for any decision making process and has certainly helped me move closer to one set of decisions .

I still have a couple of "Ruts" to blog about so normal service will be resumed soon...I am as always very grateful for the comments you guys send and also emails...I did get a couple controversial ones referring to Ruts,which I havent published so if you think one of them was yours feel free to talk to me about it.

I would love to know how others process big decisions and if anyone else finds themselves swinging madly on a pendulum..please God its not only me??!!!