Friday, 25 May 2012

Deep calls to deep...

In the summer of 2007, I had the privilege of visiting Zimbabwe.  During that visit I spent a day at Victoria Falls.  This photo does little justice to the magnitude of this awesome creation.
Overwhelmingly, my memories of the place were the absolutely deafening noise and the relentless roar of the one place I walked very close to the pouring water and the mist of water vapour in the air was falling like torrential rain - you ended up absolutely soaked to the skin - it was utterly breathtaking and very refreshing!

Today I've had a song by Matt Redman going round and round in my head.  It's a song based on Psalm 42.
There are many days when I feel like the person writing the psalm....feeling so utterly downcast (see last blog post for example!) because of the storms that life has dished out....
But I've sensed today through the words of this song and the words of the psalm a gentle heavenly reminder from our loving Father that he is calling Ellie and I into a deeper relationship with Him....and just like walking close to the waterfall, He is wanting to refresh us and for us to know the depths of His love in a much deeper, much more profound way than we've ever known before.....
Let it rain !!!

Psalm 42
1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. 
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 
4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. 
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God. 
6 My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon —from Mount Mizar. 
7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. 
8 By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. 
9 I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” 
10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 
11 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Those who have hope...

I read this excellent blog this week .... (click here).  It's fairly long but is a very good summary of the biblical hope and confidence that I have, and also explains a little of the ups and downs of the journey.

A couple of months ago through Care For The Family, I met a lady who's husband had died young some years ago.  She described how, 4 years after his death, she completely 'crashed and burned' and couldn't even get out of bed in the morning.  Strangely it comforted me as it helped me to understand that the journey is really not straightforward, definitely not linear, and the days which feel overwhelmingly hard are fairly "normal".
Nowadays, it seems fairly odd to me to think back to my expectation that when Karena died, I would first fall through the floor, then gradually get better over time.  It's really not been like that at all. You don't "get better", you just gradually learn to live with it all.

The hardest part of it all for me, 2 and a bit years since the worst day, is just how emotionally draining the whole journey has been.  If you were to ask me how I am right now, I'd answer one of two ways - either "fine" (in true English fashion which is code for, "I really don't want to go into it"), or if I was being more honest I'd probably say, "I feel so emotionally drained, it feels like there's not much left of me".  Ellie gets it of course which is just great, and she's a simply outstanding lady, wife and mother !

So....the picture above was given to Karena by a very dear friend of hers on 15th Nov 2009; the message on the back of the photo reads, "Wait in hope for the Lord.  He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.  May your unfailing love rest upon us O Lord, even as we put our hope in You (Ps 33)....Dear Lovely Karena, Praying for you - for comfort and strength as you trust in Him...Love you lots....."

God was with her.  God is with us.  We grieve as those who have hope. Tomorrow is another day.

Friday, 11 May 2012

All change....

So on Wednesday this week everything changed.
On Tuesday evening we vacated the house once again for yet another house viewing....Ellie has become a dab hand at cleaning the house top to bottom (poor lady!) in about 2 hours...she's been doing it every few days for lots of different viewings (but very little interest in buying) Tuesday was just another one (or so we thought!) 
The standard house viewing clear-up requires complete hoovering (you should see the daily dog-hair !!!), kitchen blitz, bathroom cleaning, and hiding stuff under stairs and in the boot of the car (washing, ironing, excessive coats & shoes etc), plus removal of all traces of the pets.... 
Ellie reckons she can do it all in a couple of hours now ! (Thankfully most of the viewings have happened in the daytime so I'm not around to help out much!)
So on Tuesday at 5pm we all piled into the car to vacate the house once again.  When we'd driven about 3 miles away we realised we'd forgotten something very important.....the dog!  We'd been so busy getting everything sorted and everybody into the car at the last minute that we'd actually left him at home alone to greet the prospective purchasers and estate agent.....This was not plan A!

It worked though - we've no idea how he did it but our lovely dog, Sam must have won their hearts because the following day we had an offer on the table from a Swiss couple who are buying it as a second home in the UK because they're over here so much with their work.  They have cash to purchase, no mortgage and no chain (apparrently!) 
Absolutely ideal !!
What a fab dog - we will be making him available for a small fee (a couple of Bonio's should do it) to anybody needing to sell their home....
All we need to do now is to find something to buy.....or to rent.....

Monday, 7 May 2012

We're a Special Family Day...

So Friday was our long awaited "We're a Special Family Day"...

We started with home made muffins and indoor fireworks :-)
We then had a family present (a board game).
We had Gruffalo plates, a Gruffalo table cloth, sparkly stars and Gruffalo badges!!  I wore my badge to work and displayed it triumphantly throughout the day ! 

After school (and work!), we had takeaway Pizza and a fabulous giant cup-cake (8" high) which was hollowed out and filled with was very cool !!!

Then we spent the evening playing our new board game (one rule - no arguments !!!!)

We've all had so much taken away from us, but we've also all had so much given to us....Friday was a day of laughter and fun for all.

The following day, one of the children said, "I really like being in our family, we do really nice things together".

Stuff we're grateful for today :-
  • Jesus - our refuge, our helper, our comfort, our strength and our song
  • One that We're a special family
  • Pizza and Cake
  • Cups of tea
  • Shared memories
  • Laughter and silliness
  • Our bed (aka sofa!)