Reject or Project?

 

This is another of my social experiments!

That’s how I used to see what happened if…. The ironing pile grew bigger or diminished    when labelled as a numbered ‘social experiment’,  Another example might be the bowl of uneaten breakfast cereal left on the kitchen work-top. Either you skivvy on and on, picking up all the things that nobody wants to deal with or you let everyone know that you’ve noticed and all you’re doing about it is seeing what they think their role might be when action is required… What were the results of these experiments? The ‘collective consciousness’ (to borrow a phrase from Nicholas Wolterstorff, I think,) of the family was “The experimenter’s tolerance level is less than ours. Do nothing (usually for months, if not years) and she will move the bowl of rotting ‘rice krispies’ herself.” The thing I learn’t from the general body of these experiments was not to do them. The tension and objectionableness of waiting for a positive result wasn’t worth the price it would have cost (me) to have dealt with the ‘test material’ e.g. unwanted cereal, unposted phone bill payment, pile of THEIR-clean-dry-folded-and-ironed- clothes-not-yet-put-conveniently-in-their-drawers-for-THEM etc! To accept that (I am) the skivvy; the person who wants to establish minimum standards and maintain them while nobody else is bothered either way would have been the less painful course of action.

What is this experiment about, then?

I want to explore, and to embrace rejection. ( Like I want to dive, ever again, into deep, clean, cold water, so pure and so uncompromising in its iciness that surviving and breathing through the shock of it consumes every neurone of consciousness) Could this be a project more worthy of pursuit?

What I’m recalling here is that rejection HURTS! Why do it?

Because love travels with the rejected through to wherever that journey leads. Not to is desertion. Ask any soldier or a hero or heroine of your choice. I recommend the story of Naomi and Ruth, off the top of my head. And we have all travelled that route whether we wanted to or not. As the object. The Reject.

Now how does that feel?

Go on recall it. Unrecognised? Misunderstood? Undignified? Have you since thought of what you wish you had said? Restored your pride with a flourish? Better that you didn’t.

This is just a random flow of exploration. I recall a letter I had from a conservation body. An organisation I had catalogued in my mind on the basis of a few random experiences, press releases and so on. They were demigods. I had an interview to work for them. A dream opportunity. You’ve probably guessed! No I didn’t get the job, but instead of thanking me for considering their post a worthwhile way to spend my time over and above raising my 18month old, they sent out letters saying that nobody had been selected for the post because all interviewees had been of such a low standard that they would have to readvertise. Well they failed to reach their objective as much as their interviewees did, then, no?

Ridicule. Age 8 or 9. I’ve seen it happen and experienced the withering scorn; public humiliation of a child because the teacher failed to see the vision as expressed in the work of the child who failed to see the unspecified expectations of the teacher. That is just abuse of power. Milstones round their necks! The millstone? Hewn from self-importance.

Sounding a bit familiar, now. Isaiah 53. I have drunk in some of the verses therein. Tears of relief and grief the chaser. Because whether we beleive in HIM or not, we believe in what he stands for here. The misunderstood, rejected (by fools), noble, worthy, loved and accepted (by Wisdom) one. Why so familiar and so loved until we are the ones who are blind and despise and mistrust? We repay rejection or misunderstanding with the same rejection. We are guilty. We are too small and feeble to accept, to embrace, to resore. By the same token that we did it to the least of one of these, when we fed or clothed or gave them a drink of water, did we not also when we rejected one of his little ones not also reject him? If he has given citizenship to any, who are we to turn them away at the city gates of our hearts, if our hearts are indeed his territory? That is why he had to do it himself, take the rejection so utterly upon himself. Ultimately, in his house, with many rooms, there is a place for all who accept him. We will not have any just objection to their presence!

The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone. Of this same, many roomed mansion?

Was it not so smooth and regular as the other stones? Did it go against the criteria of good stone selection according to the guild of master masons? In accepting how good are we at running with the unfamiliar, the irregular and the non-conforming?

To be rejected is to be at the frontier of redemption. It still HURTS.

This is an ongoing project.

I have listened hungrily to a song by the blessed ‘Rend Collective Experiment’ hoping to have a reality transfusion for some people I love from this truth into their lives, as yet an unanswered prayer;

‘ My Future hangs on this,

you make preciousness from dust,

please don’t stop creating me.’

Are we in our ‘seeing others as dust’ mode or have we seen their unique and stunning preciousness yet?

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Valentine Joy!

It is raining on the snowdrops.

It’s a very unremarkable kind of mild day, where I can turn the weekend events over in my mind, mentally mineralising the memories into my spirit as I walk the dog through the dripping woods and marvel.

This is Joy on very different levels. The laughing kind; the serendipities where I sense God’s manifold humour sparkling on the edge of the dimly perceived mirror, and the deeper, quieter, ‘syfrdanol’ kind.

Thank you letter type prayer starts polymerising, but that’s for a little later.

Last night was our Valentines meal together, and with such a busy schedule we didn’t have some great idea about where. To me, the anticipation of the date was like a picture of a big, squashy sofa and a glass of wine, and I wanted it to be Saturday evening not Tuesday, the alternative because the squashiness of the sofa would be limited by work stresses on Monday and Wednesday.

How many people are looking for total chill out moments in their week?

We ended up in ‘A Taste Of India’ in Borth, and arrived in an empty little restaurant with a potentially pleasant atmosphere, for Borth. We were directed to the table for four by the window and brought popadums.  I waited for the circulation to return to my hands, frozen from sitting doing accounts in our chilly lounge for my imminent annual inspection by the Organic Control body. We were having an experimental evening and I tried hurrying the warming process with some nose wringing lime pickle! We perused the menu and decided to take a chance with the ‘Indian Banquet’ and the chef’s discretion. Before long our waiter was busy serving our starters, which were very tasty, with special minty sauce. He was eager to tell us about his life as a missionary. He is part of the fellowship of St Matthew’s in Borth but is a Pentecostal himself. I thought my jewellery didn’t offend him, though. We thought it would be lovely to come with Nina, Shedrack and family. The high and lowlight of the evening  was the bizarre background music! In fact it was the music which inspired me to blog it! The problem of creating atmosphere conducive to relaxed chatting in restaurants that are empty but for one couple can be solved easily by background music, so it was a good move when the waiter put the radio on, albeit a bit wheezy. He fiddled with it for a while and managed to cajole from it something that sounded like a reporter in a war zone rapping across a bad phone reception, and as that was all that could be sifted from the ether, he left it at that. After a short while the restaurant had filled up with what seemed to be a relaxed and regular clientèle, and perhaps perceiving this, the rapper down the line hung up, leaving nothing but an intense hissing and crackling. We were a little distracted by this and snatched glances at other diners to see if they were at all put off by it. By all appearances everything continued as normal and we persevered with our conversations. The restaurant manager came over as we finished our starter and asked if everything was alright. I too hurriedly asked if maybe the radio could be retuned and he smiled graciously and switched it off, as he carried our plates away. “Oops,” I thought, ” If he didn’t like me saying that without first thanking him for the lovely first course, I may be in for a  taste of his displeasure next!” On the contrary, we were treated to such an amazing feast of delightful  dishes and delicious naan bread that we continued trying to work our way through them all well after we felt replete!When we were finally defeated by the banquet we asked for the bill and our missionary brother came and began working out with us how our doggy bag could best be packed! As I’m vegetarian, some things couldn’t be mixed, and when that puzzle was solved and the bill paid we were presented with a large paper bag full of perfectly wrapped parcels of delicacies. As we flumped hugely into the car, we laughed at ourselves for forcing so much food into our drum tight bellies, as we’d have a bigger lunch the morrow if we’d stopped sooner and at a more comfortable stage of full! However, all in all the evening was a great giggle and the chippy left with the manager wringing his hand and saying to leave his card, in case his help was needed with renovations to the premises beginning next month.

This morning we were privileged to have Dr David Ceri Jones preaching from Peters 1st Epistle, Chapter 1, in St Michael’s church Llandre. We Christian’s are supposed to have this ‘unspeakable’ or ‘inexpressible and glorious  joy’ because we live in the company of Jesus despite the trials we experience today. It was so apt a word as we now have in our sights the arrival of a new incumbent, Rev Peter Jones with his wife Carol and daughter, Elen.  We had been told that they would be coming to meet the congregation today, and so I wanted to be there. I am so delighted to discover that there will be this new opportunity for growth and spiritual reality being lived and breathed and explored right here in Llandre. Part of the outcome of being so eager to meet and discuss hopes for us was that it seemed as if I was being ridiculously demanding, and poor Peter, who isn’t beginning his ministry here till May, asked me at one point how long I was giving him for all these transformations to take place! It’s just that I wouldn’t have dared to hope we could have that conversation with a minister in this church. Shame on me, but now, all the more, joy and hope! I can’t claim not to be biassed but I thought the hope was tangible. Not in the singing though, which was as dismal as usual! I am genuinely thrilled for Roger, who seemed to have a huge smile on his face whenever I glanced in his direction, and for Doreen his wife. They have worked tirelessly through all the years when the  only the lights of hope were in their souls and the eternal promises, none were in outward circumstances.

I walked home through the rain with a smile on my lips and became aware of the little green clio at the bottom of our lane, with my husband waving to me as I approached. I literally jumped for joy as I explained that David had told me to go and listen to Peter Jones on the Hubberstone web site, and what a great preacher he is. I have just done that. Yes, there is much to be thankful for and to pray about and to celebrate.

Now I’m going out again to enjoy the rain with the snowdrops.

Refocus a great deal!

If I picture that Jesus is standing between me and him, then every time he says something to put me down, I know Jesus is saying to me, “Are you giving him permission to do that to you?” And I am trying to say “No” but I can feel myself slipping all the same. And I need to really believe Jesus when he’s telling me, “If you won’t, then neither will I.” I have to want not to be torn up like rubbish and to believe also that Jesus doesn’t either. If my heart was a computer I would have this protection programmed into my hard drive!

I have hardly been able to talk to anyone since I was there, being shown the gritty, dirty ground where I get my face rubbed with his every comment and put down.

So I guess this is Jesus’s deal with me. I’d like to accept. I had said before-hand, “I take an oath with myself.” I’d said it out loud with my hand in the air like a stop sign! “I won’t let anything he says hurt me.  I forbid the words to enter my personal space.” But they did. I had virtually scrambled into the car to get away, in the end. I don’t want Mum to know. She deserves never to know. So I have to try to act normal or like I’m laughing. On the way home I couldn’t talk or cry. My chest ached and it wasn’t angina!  I went to sleep as an escape both nights since. ( A miracle for an insomniac!) But I woke still hounded by the rejection. Well, I don’t have any better deals to sign up to and I actually believe this one will be best in the long run. It takes such a big upfront payment though. Not to blame, not to imagine vengeful things I could have said…not to be natural.

So yes, Lord, please come and stand between him and me. I want to see you when I look at him and I want to hear you when he speaks. In return, I want him to see you when he looks at me and to hear you when I speak.

Done deal.

I will fail. Help me help me help me help me help me help me!

Visit To Newcastle

Re: The two things you asked me, Tidge:

Firstly: What was I praying, Sunday night?

I had just spent the whole weekend having a tour of your new life; an ‘open day’ view of Catie in Newcastle. OK, yes, it had it’s glossy aspect; I didn’t have to attend a lecture and do one of your assignments! Nevertheless, we had a taster of the places, the people, the number of things you do, and how often, hearing of the many mornings a week getting up early to go to prayer meetings, amongst other regular slots. It wasn’t hard to imagine the late noisy nights in hall, at the other end of the proverbial candle, as you gigglingly returned the broken table leg to it’s hiding place in the kitchen cupboard. We did muck in with cleaning up  ‘polystudent festidensis’  in the communal area! This experience admittedly being considerably more rewarding, on meeting some of your flatmates, than the Damien Hirst ‘installation’ we viewed earlier in the weekend.

So, by Sunday evening, I felt I’d built in my mind, a well illustrated resume of your first term and a half at university. It was impressive. I compared the wholesomeness of your student life with what mine had been at roughly the same time. There was no comparison. I had a quick ‘fast forward’ impression of both our lives, and of mine since, as obviously, I have a lot more years on record! Suddenly I recognised that I could ask for more potential to be fulfilled and released, in my life. It was the starkness of the contrast, having seen myself at 19 and then you. So I just wanted to have more readiness, higher expectations of myself and life, less worry that I was unworthy, inadequate, rubbish…more grace outworking, more reliance on Jesus and therefore resiliance. I was celebrating all that God has been able to pour into you and through you, all the life that has flowed and all the rhythm that has been swelling the glorious heartbeat of heaven. This probably sounds crazy to you but I don’t know how else to put it into words. I was celebrating and yet suddenly dissatisfied with what I believed to be consequences of my broken and confused eruption from a sense of powerlessness, being passive, having an ignorant acceptance of the inevitable to insecure, somewhat rejected but nevertheless independent existance. I had such a long way to go, didn’t I? And I am glad that God has brought me this far. Yet I believe there is still much more! Life is full and I am very blessed, but during that worship I suddenly wanted to live more! So I placed all that before the cross. The past is dealt with, no more tears over that, at all. What I put before the cross was my whole history as a context, as if it’s a sealed unit. My now also, and myself. ‘Take me all: I want transformation beyond what is humanly possible.’

I have filled out what I actually prayed because when sharing this with another, so much more qualification and explanations seems to need to be given.

As I said when I was summoned by Mark, we sang the line…”my life is in your hands”… I was all the while participating fully in the worship. So I knelt down, because it was like a compassionate..”OK, I hear you,” from the father.

And secondly: What was prophesied over me?

Mark saw an annointing on me, and said he had seen it from the beginning of the evening. He saw the word ‘Deborah’ over me. He saw that there is a ready warrior in me, and related the example of Deborah agreeing to lead the Israelites into battle when a man would not go. So Israel was delivered into the hands of a woman that day. He saw that the specific area that I would stand against was the occult. I would not be alone. He saw it was as if I was walking down a hill and witches and demons were fleeing, and I was surrounded by angels who would protect me. (Quoted about the angels who encamp around the righteous.)

When he said these things I was not too grateful! I didn’t really want to have to go any where near the occult! Such a ready warrior!!! However, I will let it sit in the scales of my spirit and let it be weighed before the Lord. He prayed that whatever was not of the Lord would be forgotten. I think the bit about being a warrior is probably true. I have a spirit that becomes indignant for the things of God, especially his people and especially if I think they are getting spiritual attack…so….

Then I heard from Jenny, (I am grateful that God gave Jenny sight of my broken and softer side). She saw me in God’s hands. (C:) His hands were cupped all around me. The picture became even softer than that. As if I was in a womb, so fully surrounded and in such a place of sanctuary and safety and protection. It speaks into my spirit of acceptance as a wanted child also. Very healing.

So these are your questions answered. I hope that I have explained well to you, especially the first bit, but I fear the first bit will get a bit lost in translation.

Prayer Returns Nov. 09

Father

I am sitting before you again to be still and quiet in your presence.

To rejoice and celebrate your presence.

To acknowledge that this is fellowship; as your Spirit is not geographically defined, here we are in your presence together. As I intercede, knowing that Christ intercedes perfectly, I am confident of your power and will to bring blessing, by grace to all who are in this prayer communion.

Praise you, you are kind and patient. Thank you for the provision of work and healing for the body so he can work, for the chippy. Protect him and keep his mind awake to your goodness and availability to help him as he desires to serve you and witness in his daily work.

I bring the Cherub and Bono before you. Walk alongside them and pour in the peace that passes all understanding as they cover unfamiliar ground. Let them wonder and share and be quiet or chatty, confident in you and your love for them both. Do your will and reveal that to them as the light of your word guides their steps. Praise you for all you mean and are, to and in them both.

Guide her daily in every way. Thank you for the new provision and its perfect timing. As you lead and allow her to discover her way, protect her in all your wisdom and humility, so she is proactive and quick to learn. Let her witness be light and loveliness, bringing truth and joy. You are so amazing, so strong and mighty and always Holy……fhdia\fhjdsak.lhf!

The Tidge. I continue to take great relief and confidence that you are taking care of her in new challenges. You are the perfect father and life coach. Your love is discipline and your discipline reassures of continued faithfulness to your standards. So make whole her character with assurance of her value and pricelessness to you. How she uses her life will be tuned accordingly. So help her with compassion and power to keep on standing. As she feels vulnerable or ‘full of beans’, be her closest friend, hold her hand so she is reminded you are with her every moment. Thank you.

Thank you for Esther and our very tender friedship, how you so widen the horizons of how we can love each other. As she seeks work in science and feels the fragility of her future, send your reassurance. Help her command fear to recede as your love becomes more 3d. Let your will and Kingdom be seen as she takes each day and its challenges. Let her be both Spirit and flint. Unbreakable life. Please make straight the path to her scientific research, removing the prejudice and blinkers of University obstructions. Open the gates and break the bars. Make her clear in her thinking so her work is crisp and useful, bringing honour to your name.

Let the Tetrarch’s brother have his needs met in Christ but not met by unstable aliances. You are sovereign over all the works and institutions. I ask you to look upon that situation and depend on your mercy, wisdom and eternal goodness.

I pray you help Cara not to be anxious about her teacher’s absence. Take gentle care of her and her classmates. Help them to grow in maturity and skills together and Let this disturbance be used to advantage. Lord I lift the teacher and colleagues up to your hands of healing and reconciliation. Thank you for the width of your overshadowing wings.

Joe T Sh. You have known and been meeting him at every point of need. I pray that he continues in his discovery of you and your character, especially of your grace to fuel him.

Please let him rely on you to inspire him for the organisation of the social events for which he has responsibility. Let him find his organisational skills are growing like excercised muscles, and thus by your power at work within his inner man, bless the school work, the branch groups and the talks he has to prepare and deliver, so he blesses others without hindrance.

Please bring lots of children to the boys CU and likewise girls if such provision is available. Let the things you have promised about praise from the lips of babes and infants be multiplied and evident. Let the branches all grow stronger and stronger in the vine. Jesus thank you for being the source and life in these groups. Let young lives be changed from glory to glory and fruitfulness, making all the teaching available and relevant to every age group.

We pray for the young man sent back to st Lens by the other church. Let him learn a lot about your unchanging and unfailing love by this apparent set back. Help him discover your purpose and hold on to you. Let him be as thrilled and on track in your will as one of the bobsled teams in the winter olympics! halleluja!

As Joe returns home for the Christmas break, help him readjust to family life and be sensitive to how his role is valuable in that circle, likewise his sisters. Bless them all as they relax and celebrate together. Use them together as a family to witness to the community of your trinity love and fellowship. Thank you for what you have done for them and through them.

On his return to Ammersham, help him tackle the paperwork without dread or prevarication! Help him just to get started and then find it is not such a big monster on the hill-toand please let him not have it on his mind during the holidays. Bless his work in every way with the youth.

Please in the course of the next weeks and his remaining time at St Len’s show him what your plan is for the future. Let him hear you in his quiet times, leading him as you counsel him, focusing on each day and how each day is part of the jouirney to the next place of work and service. As he gives himself to your service, keep him assured that you are watching over and guiding him.

Lord this is all in your hands. I lay it all down and thank you for being trustworthy. Your sight and perspective is eternally perfect. Amen.

Free top up

It was the night before last when I went out to pray and run again. The Chippy was very good about me leaving only a short while after he came home from Cheshire, he was even pretty cool about having to cook his own supper after the long drive.

The going was harder on 2 meals of chips! I made too many the night before when Ian came for supper so I had half the left overs for lunch and the same again for supper! Still, I didn’t seem to take much longer and it’s great to just have the time to be before God, to praise him, as the stars begin to twinkle and the farmers are driving home after their last chore, squeezed in during the last hour of daylight.

I began intercession with Cara and Timothy. Asked God to show me what he has on his heart for them, and I think one of the answers was himself, his loving ever present fatherhood. Knowing their circumstances, this should seem obvious! Anyway, I prayed for all the foundational important understandings of a father to be given them, at the right time, gently and certainly. Thanking God for his amazing love, understanding and wisdom. He is so infinitely good. So I prayed that they would look to him more and more as they grow and learn to know him, be dependent on him…just carried on in that vein for a while, had a great sense of the importance of his presence in their life and how beyond my words his love for them goes!

The Chippy, whom I don’t pray for as thoroughly as I should, because I get complascent, taking his welbeing for granted. This is so wrong, and then I want to pray big amazing incisive prayers but I don’t seem to know what..I should ask God why this is…Note to self next prayer run time. Did the perfunctory prayers, trusting God to ensure he gets what he needs despite my deficiencies.

Seems much easier to pray for the Cherub and the Tidge. Flows easily with their horizons so wide and their lives before them. Just keep them passionate for doing your will, Father, keep them so close and right in the centre of the fountains of heaven’s blessing, by their own choices to honour you, obey you in service and gratitude for the life you have for them. Thank you for their close friendship and and guide them as they enter these new chapters in their lives. Let them know your closeness all the time.

Prayed for Marianne, asking for her to keep looking at the truth and to know your freeing power. Prayed that the enemy would not be stealing her inheritance and freedom in Christ. Prayed for her to have good friends around her and to find strength and mercy each day. Break the circle of destructive thoughts in the name of Jesus. Be the lifter of her head. Thank you for the woman of God you see, Lord when you look at her, and for your delight and joy you feel when your eyes are on her. Truth and freedom and release, God you have it all and so want to give it to your children! Amen.

Did a fairly quick naming of other little ones before God, but focused especially on Louisa and Polly and their parents. Asked you to help them see you are not just a nice polite old God pleased with good, well brought up children and not very interested in the scruffy ones that swear and live in rough areas! Oh Thankyou God so much for being so utterly wise and loving all people without our human blinkers. Please just day by day show us more deeply how you love and what you are like. Thank you that Louisa and Polly have shown an interest in church and Lord, make that a radical thing in their lives, not a pleasant ‘now and then’ diversion.

(Typing this up is harder than the actual praying of it, but it’s really good to have to remember what I prayed and it serves as a pointer to me next time I pray.. so I’m glad I’m doing it, if only for the mental discipline by which praying is improved.)

Praying for Shadrack, Sophie and Shona was easy enough and to the point. The crucial thing is to remember them and not grow tired of praying for them, even though I’ll probably never see them or the way God answers the prayers. Except when I get to heaven.

I named others too, remembering their parents and asking for your guidance and blessing. In particular, Lord, for a ministry for Demitri. (This may all be my idea but at least it gives me something specific and I’ll trust you with the answer…he might become a boiler repair man but you would still use him for amazing work in your kingdom if my prayers for him are answered!) I love your Grace, my amazing God! I pray for Demitri and have such a desire in my heart that he grows up to be a mighty man of God. I know that my maveric tendency could be a total block to this prayer being answered and so I keep having to ask God to ‘search my heart’ and know/reveal any unrigteousness or perversity there and warn me. However, if I focus on the fruit and not the accusation about why I’m praying for this, I can desire it for the purest of reasons, and this I choose to do, my God and KIng…use him and grow him and set him on a course of true goodness. Sovereign Lord, use the promices and prayers of all who have stood in your house and made them, to allow your love and influence to guide, save and keep this boy as he grows. I prayed for him to get into university and a good Christian union and hey presto :D…but I really know that this is like watching a small child rehearsing a cute but silly little play to impress its parents! God knows his plans and purposes for him and I say ‘Amen’, God’s way and will be done in his life, only use him and let him be one who plays his joyful part in bringing in the Kingdom.

As ever, prayed for Joe T Shuster: Play it again Sam! Oh yes, and as I was praying for that ministry and that church, I don’t know if it was the endorphins kicking in because I was running, but I started saying ‘Rock that town’, and very quickly I was praying for the whole nation to be rocked and for new stuff to happen and revival! Had that theme of God coming and shaking and rocking people, hearts, communities, specifically and generally, all the way home. It was very enjoyable and spiritually encouraging which was in sharp contrast to how knackered I was feeling running up the hill past the old sunday school. Well, ‘staggering’ would be a nearer verb to use! Good old Joe, though. He’ll be doing his bit in the rocking of the nation. Halleluya!