Thursday, March 7, 2013

Jesus Loves Me....

Most of my blog entries are for myself and my family, but I will be posting this to a few close friends.

About 2 1/2 weeks ago I hit a spiritual brick wall. I'm not going to explain what exactly, but not the usual world issues, very much a me and God issue. It left me feeling unloved and not understanding what was going on. The close relationship I have had with God, especially over the last year, was shattered and half of me felt like walking away.

I am sorry to Karen for having to deal with my silence, not wanting to talk about it etc. and to Sarah, who may or may not have noticed her Dad was not his usual self. My thanks to Keith for his wise guidance and suggestions.

So why am I writing this blog entry. Well during this I realised that some of my friends were also struggling with their own issues and I am hoping a little of what I have learnt over the last couple of days may help them.

I was stuck in the endless loop of not wanting or being able to talk to God, because I felt he didn't love me etc. I didn't read my bible for 4 days, something I have loved doing with Bible In a Year. I eventually started my daily readings again, but couldn't engage with God. A bit like Tom Cruise in Top Gun, I made myself keep doing the daily reading, going to church etc. but still none of it was working. Normally I can think my way out of these situations, but I couldn't. I sought Keith's wise guidance, and I am sure he said many things, but the thing that struck me (and this is how I remember it not what he may have actually said) was about looking at God's love from a different viewpoint. Going back to the beginning and God loving me so much that he sent his son to die for me.

So today I went for a walk on the Ridgeway (it is just one place I can be alone and spend time with God). I shouted a bit, but I also just laid how I was feeling before him. I said I didn't understand, and today wasn't about understanding, but about getting our relationship back to where it should be. I realised how much God was part of my life, and that however much I hurt, I still wanted him there. I could not imaging life without him.

One of the things I did was listen to Peter Grieg's talk from New Wine last year, and whilst he talked about Hope (Romans 15:13) During the talk he has a story and the song in the story is this

Jesus loves me this I know
For the bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak, but He is strong
Yes Jesus loves me!
Yes Jesus loves me!
Yes Jesus loves me!
The bible tells me so

Sing it to yourself. I make no apology if for the next few days it is going round in your head.

There were many moments like that today.

Are things back to where they were? No
Has it made all the hurt go away? No, but it is not as raw as it was
Are things heading in the right direction? Yes

I still don't know the why etc. about what caused the hurt, or understand it, and I know at some point I will need to delve into that.
What I do know though, is that no matter what, I want God to be at the centre of my life, and even when I don't feel it (or as I was doing feel the opposite) God does love me.

Telling God that I don't understand, and not trying to, accepting that that understanding will come later. Changing my perspective and focusing on the things I do know and understand. Going back to the basics of the Gospel message, that God loves me so much He sent His Son to die for me.

To my friends. I am sorry if I have not been around to talk. Or perhaps you have felt like me and not wanted to talk to someone as you felt your problem would make theirs worse. What I will say is that I am here if you want to talk.

To my body, I am sorry for making you walk 12 miles today when you are out of shape and not used to it, but the pain was worth it :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Intimacy with God

In some ways life has been tough over the last few months. Although I am very aware compared to some others, my life has been relatively easy. Being away so much of the last few months, feeling very tired, not knowing what I should be doing etc. etc. all add up.

So much as I could have spent today shopping, I didn't (sorry Karen, that means no diamonds!), instead I took time out to spend time with God. Something I have tried to do in recent years is to have a "quiet day" (albeit usually only 4-6 hours) once a term. But with being away etc. not really having the time, as when home I need to try and do all the things I normally do but in a shorter time I was feeling more and more that I needed to really get one in. So what to do in a foreign city with no car? So I decide I would visit the Cathedral in Seattle, not like UK ones that are tourist attractions, but at least it would more than probably be open and I could be quiet. Also if that did not work out there was a park close by. I decided to walk there (very British, not at all American!) which in itself was interesting, walking through different parts of Seattle, some a bit run down contrast with the last road with larger houses although not millionaire (or anything like), it was a contrast.

I spent a great time in the Cathedral, reading, praying, listening to worship, as well as a couple of talks. Both from New Wine 2007 (yes we really have been going that long!), the first "Consider the Poor" by David Ruis, and it reminded me of where my heart is on this journey I have been on for the last 6 years, which start around that time. I love Street Pastoring, getting out and meeting those in need. I am involved with our Prison team, although not sure this is where I should be long term, it is for now.

The second talk was "Intimacy with God" by Rev Martin Saxby (no relation to my brother-in-law), and I was struck by how far I had come in the last 6 years. When I originally went to the talk I felt very distant from God, really struggling spiritually, and here I am 6 years on, an what I want more than anything is to spend more time with God :-) I love reading my bible (I can recommend Bible in One Year), I want to have my quiet days, and wish I had time for more. I want to do more for God, although I wish I knew what. In some ways I wish I could afford to give up work and just do things for him.

So having spend most of this week, really not wanting to be here, not sure I really wanted to carry on with my job, I now feel totally different having spent some intimate time with my best friend (God). I didn't want to leave the Cathedral, but as (unusually for a Cathedral) there was going to be a funeral I thought I had better! I feel refreshed and in a much better place. I still don't know what I should be doing for God! but I am happy he has it in hand. I can see he has been working a lot on me for the last 6 years, and also feel that the time is soon, as it feels like the close of a phase. Although I am aware God still has more work to do with me! as Martin Saxby says in his talk (quoting someone else), "God has given you your ministry, not for what you can do for Him, but for what he can do in you"

Tomorrow I am also spending time with God :) I am going to a church with someone I know over here. He used to work with me at Microsoft in the UK, and now works for them in the US. He wife is on a Women's Retreat, so we may also hang out a bit as well.

Spending time with God is great, perhaps I should go away more often, only kidding Karen!