About Me

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

"I don't know how you do it…"

This post is for anyone who has ever asked a busy woman (or maybe a busy man but I'm only qualified on the one count) 'how do you do it?'…

It's a question I get asked from time to time in a sort of awe struck way - how do you manage to do so much? how do you get so much done? how how how?

So here I am declaring, and probably on behalf of other busy women, (although I speak only for myself!) stop putting me on a pedestal! I am not perfect!

Yes I get a lot done, I am a capable person, I admit that (in a totally non up-my-own-backside kind of way) but the truth is I fail daily. I fall apart. I get cross with my kids. I miss things that are important. And I regularly melt down, but of course no one (except sometimes my husband) sees that.

I once spent some time working for a person who everyone thought was amazing, perfect and a complete shining example of life itself. Working for that person I realised that behind the scenes they are just like every one else. They get stuff wrong, make mistakes, look dreadful first thing before the 'daytime mummy' kicks into action (you need to read that book to understand that comment) and I am just the same. I hate when people say to me, 'how do you do it' because it means that I am not coming across as normal. Because normal people make mistakes and get stuff wrong. So here I am setting you straight...

I am a Mum and a wife and I LOVE that. My husband and kids are my reason for living. They will always come first. Before work, before the stuff I love, before my friends. My family rocks my world :) However…  I still fail at being a wife and a mum regularly. I forget to do the Tesco shop so there's no food in the house. I don't give my husband enough attention. I shout at the kids. I don't clean the loo or do the ironing. Just like anyone else.

I love my job - really I do, I feel so blessed and honoured to be working for the church. But there are days when it's all too much, when I have to do something I don't want to do, when I get cross with my boss (I'm sure he won't mind me saying that because I usually tell him when I am annoyed with him!). Just like anyone else.

I am a working woman trying to juggle a load of plates and just like anyone else I drop them. A lot. Especially when I am tired or hormonal (sorry TMI). On those days I cry a lot. There is snot. There is self-indulgent misery. There is shouting, and, on those days there is often swearing. I really don't know what happens there but I feel sure that levels of female hormones are directly responsible for swearing…

So next time you look at someone and think they are something to be looked up to, think again!

I hope this post doesn't sound at all ungracious, and is a bit ranty I know. I just want others to realise that what you see from someone isn't always all there is...

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Blog Celebration - 100,000 views!

'Lets cheers Happy new year 2009' photo (c) 2009, nImAdestiny - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

So it passed by without me really noticing that I have now had over 100,000 hits on my blog! WOW!! Can't believe that I have ever really had anything that interesting to say, but if you've ever read the blog, thank you :)

So, I started this blog on 28th Feb 2010 intending to write about what God was doing in our lives in a real and honest way. Mostly I have done just that, and this blog reflects real life for me, although I have occasionally veered off topic! It is amazing to look over those 4 and a bit years and see exactly what He has done - our lives are barely recognisable to what they once were - but it's all amazing!

So here's a bit of a round up…

Favourite #hashtags and labels used //

Jesus - top at 23 uses, no surprise there then :)
Church of England 18
CFS 17
Love 10
Prayer 9



The main topics I have written on, and a few examples are //



Being called into ministry and becoming a Vicar


Well, yes I guess this has featured rather highly over the last few years… So here's a couple of the posts around that...



CFS and illness


I wasn't Facebooking all my posts back when I was ill so some of you won't know that I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome some years back. It's still a diagnosis I struggle with, although I was very definitely ill and I still have to be careful with energy levels. I wrote about being ill and the struggle to find out what was wrong, quite a lot.

Being diagnosed 2011
If you have ever known anyone with Chronic Illness, this might be helpful - the do's and don'ts! 2011


The Church of England


My love/hate relationship with the CofE goes on… Love it but also get so frustrated by it! Here's a snapshot of some of those posts...


Why I love the good old  CofE March 2011


I've had some great comments on the blog too and great guest posters. So to all of you who have ever read, commented or posted on my blog, a massive thank you :) It really has been a big part of my journey and I've made some great friends and contacts through it too. here's to the next 100,000 views!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Loving the Church of England...



So I've just got back from this years 'Leadership Conference' which for me, followed right after another leadership event at the weekend. The result is that my journal is a riot of scribbled notes, sound bites and instructions to myself to 'go further', 'look this up', or 'find out who this guy is' and it definitely all needs some deciphering, and a few days of prayer and processing…

One thing though, that I feel God has been reminding me of throughout all this, is how much I feel called to the Church of England. Which is kind of handy seeing as as I work and train within it... Regular readers of this blog will know how frustrated I get with the church sometimes, it tends to comes out in a good ranty blog post every now and then, but I usually try and counteract those rants by saying ' but I still love the Church of England', and today I feel that more than ever.

One question that was posed over the last few days was 'What would God have you do?'. There are hundreds of ways I think I could answer that question, whether I answer it in relation to my daily walk with God, or in relationships with friends, or as I have been focussing on - as someone who works within the church. What would God have me do within the church? within my role or future roles? And I think for me, these are the key areas

Influence

I am fascinated by the idea of influence. How we as individuals can influence others on behalf of God's kingdom and how that can play out in a larger way, in society. 'Influence' can so easily have a negative connotation but the Latin it derives from: in-fluere meant influx, or a flowing in, which implies a more gentle feeding in of ideas. I love the idea of God's Holy Spirit flowing into society, into the world around us, through us - like we are the gates that control how much water goes through. If we fail to recognise our role of influence, less of God's spirit gets in. We need to recognise that and be more of an influence. I would love to see the church, or churches have more of an inflowing into the communities they serve, a gentle influx of the spirit of God, through us, God's people.

Ambition

I think it was Nicky Gumble who said at the conference, 'be ambitious as Christians' because otherwise we are selling God short. Nothing is too great for God, scripture tells us that, but so often we sell ourselves short and as a result we sell God short. If we believe we are made in God's image, if we believe that through salvation Christ lives in us, if we believe as Paul says 'I can do all things through him who gives me strength' then what are we waiting for? Think big, dream high, be led by God and the sky is the limit.


Transformation


One of the Anglican 'Five Marks of Mission' is 'To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation'. So taking that a step further, I wonder, do we, as The Church or as the churches, actually seek to transform society? I still believe that the Church of England has a privileged position in society and a role to play in shaping that society. That role is fast waning, but let's do something about that, let's do something to help people believe in the church again, as a force for good in society. I heard a lot at the weekend about the William Wilberforce Trust and rehabilitation of ex offenders, addicts and the homeless, and it was an absolute joy to see people whose lives were broken beyond all imagination, now, clean, healed, restored, happy.  What if the whole church, and by that I mean all of us, not just the 'powers that be', actually worked together to see transformation happen?

Frustration

As I have said, I love the church but I also get frustrated with it and I know I'm not the only one! This morning when I was praying I had a real sense of God saying that we need to help people through their frustration. It seems so simple but often people get cross about things, or are particular about something within the church because they have a frustration with it. Whether that is the bureaucracy - needing a faculty which takes months just to put in a loo, or whether it is a lack in enthusiasm from within the congregation, or the dwindling numbers in the church, or the judgemental attitudes of some people, or the finger pointing... whatever it is, I think that most people in the church, have the good of the church in their hearts (and hopefully the love of Jesus too!). But people get wound down by the rules and regulations, the disappointments, the pain and so on, and as leaders within the church we have to enable people to see past that and to really to focus on why the church is there and what it can do to serve its parish or the community around it. 

So for me, all that is hopefully influencing what I do in my role, and where it takes me in the future I don't know, but my dream is to see a Church of England that is playing a big part in transforming our society, seeing God's Kingdom come and showing the love of Christ wherever we are… 

"For nothing is impossible for God" 
(Luke 1:37)



Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Are people 'hearing' what you are saying?

It's a question I ask myself when my kids fail to respond to basic requests - dinner is ready, or turn the TV off and when they ignore me I think, can they hear me? Usually the answer has something to do with 'selective hearing'…

Anyway that isn't really what this post is about.

We had some teaching at Vicar school on preaching and one of the things that came up was about how people perceive, or hear, what we are saying. It's so easy to assume that people are hearing what you want them to hear, but often that's not the case. It's a lesson I learned some time back when someone asked me why I was always so cross. I was quite taken aback as I'm not at all like that (or so I thought!) I thought I was quite a nice friendly person, but it appeared that sometimes I sound like I'm cross when I'm not anything of the sort. 

A short while ago I had a different experience of this as I was being my usual chatty self, but managing to put my foot in it in a huge way. Walking through a line of seats where the chairs were very close together I made a joke (or not as it turned out) to the people in front (who I had not met before) that there was not much leg room behind them. It was only as I looked up I realised that one of the people sat there was, let's say, on the larger side. I was mortified. In the moment I mumbled something about the seats having been pushed together so closely, hoped the ground would swallow me up and then legged it. I can only hope that the person in question would not have imagined me to be so rude as to be commenting on her size. Sadly I fear she may have done and yet afterwards I felt I couldn't apologise because that would have drawn attention to it, where she may have not seen any offence!


This is a rather extreme example but it goes to show that so often what comes out of our mouths, or even what is perceived to have come out of our mouths is not at all what we intended. 


I wonder sometimes as I preach, are people really getting the message of this talk? I know clergy regularly say that people will come and comment on their sermons, saying that bit really spoke to me, and all the while the vicar is thinking 'that wasn't the message'!  suppose to some extent so long as people are meeting with God it doesn't actually matter.

I wonder what my 'lenses' are? what are my filters? Someone told me this week that I was very definitely not in the pigeonhole they and put me in - which I think is a good thing - who wants to be pigeonholed! but again it made me think, how am I being perceived?

As someone learning to preach this is a lesson I hope I will continue to take on board as I continue in this journey...