Monday, 14 June 2010

person of peace

For an introduction to the Person of Peace concept - try this helpful blog intro

I had a profound experience of connecting with a Person of Peace (in fact 2) today at M's dancing class. For 6 months I have been taking her every week in term time for her half hour ballet class. While the kids are in their lesson, parents have to stay in a nearby room to wait, especially for this group as they still need help with the toilet and the teachers won't do that! 
In all that time, I have sat while other mums around me have talked across me and ignored me, carrying on their own conversations because they know each other from the school gates or nursery schools. They are usually in these conversations before they enter the room and it's been difficult to interrupt or even know what on earth they are talking about! It has been a lonely experience and one which has made me question myself, as a normally extroverted and friendly and chatty person. Something about the environment and everyone knowing someone else made me feel incredibly excluded. I have tried a couple of times to chat - and twice had a great conversation and was able to share about my job and about M's eyes and how we have seen God's hand at work in their improvement. But BOTH times, the week after, that mum was nowhere to be seen and hasn't been back since...was it something I said??!!
Since we moved church in January, we have been conscious of how much M has missed her friends at 'red church' as she calls it. We've tried to keep connected with 'red church' friends but it's hard when lives often change course because of different circles. We were worried that too much too-ing and fro-ing would make her unsettled as she asked 'when are we going back to red church' a few times. So we have concentrated on her friends and connections at nursery and 'yellow church' (it's all to do with brick colour!!)
But during this week, while I was away at Pilgrimage in Sheffield, I really felt God prompt me to not be so embarrassed or precious or irritated about not being included in the dancing mum's conversation and not to be scarred by previous experiences. In the context of missional communities and extending God's kingdom in our community, I was made aware that the attitude problem came from me and that I should pray for a person of peace in that arena and see what happened. So I did. 
And today, the room we would normally gather in while the class was going on was being used by another group. It meant we had to stand in the foyer bit for 10 minutes....and conversation started because I mentioned out loud that the group in the room had a lot of technology with them (speakers, projector etc) which might take a while to pack up.... The mum out there with me at that point agreed and said she noticed I always had my laptop with me and was it for my work? It opened the conversation...not for long, but it was a start!
And then, another mum came in whose little girl was starting the class today, She had a baby with her who was feeding from a bottle and while baby was busy she started asking me some questions about how the class worked and whether M enjoyed it. She was so engaging and said that her daughter was nervous about starting but was pleased there were other girls there. M had helped things along by taking this little girl's hand and saying 'you can follow me' when she first arrived. 
So, I'm thanking God tonight for his opening of these opportunities and for using M in it with me!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Pilgrimage - Sheffield 7-10 June 2010

I've been away this week, at the Pilgrimage event in Sheffield. It's been all about applying and developing my learning and understanding of LifeShapes as our rule of life through The Order of Mission and as I use it in youth ministry across the Diocese.
It's been a challenging, inspiring, heartening and frustrating week - all of these things at different times and in different ways.
As at the end of last years' event - I've come away knowing my life won't be the same again and aware that I have met with God in a fresh place and new way.
I've been posting daily notes and reflections over on my more 'work' blog so if you'd like to see how each day panned out - take a hop over to funkydoo.

Each individual post is here:
Day One Monday
Day Two Tuesday
Day Three Wednesday

I'm still working on Thursday's summary and will also expand a bit further on some of the Kingdom and Covenant teaching from Mike Breen which deserves it's own post. But now I need to be with my daughter and try and do some catch up work too!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

a post I found and loved...nothing more

The Call to Bless

DSC_0161It's the days when the quiet pounds in my ears.  The deafening sound of silence. I often wonder if the silence is so loud because it's not silence at all, but invisible darkness and muck swirling around, hidden behind supernatural walls.  Taunting me, pricking my skin, laughing at my weak resolve.  Lashing fire at me, screeching at me.  My soul "hears" them, knows they're there.  My flesh can't see them so my soul must decipher.  My energy flairs the panic, I know not not how to silence the silence.
It the moments of mayhem, when everything is spinning so fast and the children are pawing at my arms and legs and brain and each other and I can't catch up or focus or even know what to say. So I stare off, do the minimum.  I survive.  And I do not bless.
Sometimes it's the memories, when I've slipped up and allowed myself to think the "what if..."  Memories that are so painful, wrapping themselves around loss and choking.  Their vine permanently entwined in mine and I meekly believe that it will always be this way.  This grief.  The roots too deep for soul surgery. 
A lost cause, just give up now, stop trying so hard.  Stop trying to grow and mold and change.
The lies pile up until I stop believing and finally knock them over.
The tower of deceit crashed down.
Not with my faith or with my hope or with anything but with my blessing.
"I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34:1
I reset myself.  Blessing Him is first.  Not my list of pleading, not my list of need.  Not my list of want.  But making mention.  Saying the name of the Lord over and over if that's all I can get out at first.
Jehovah Jireh, God our Provider.  Jehovah Shalom, God of Peace.  Jehovah Rophe, God who heals. Elohim, God Almighty. Immanuel, God with us.  Ancient of Days.  Messiah.  Jesus!
As I call each name, as I make mention of Him in my prayers, the Spirit builds.  I can feel the peace, I can feel the healing.  I can feel Him near.  Just from blessing His name.  What power in just a name!
Then it dawns on me.  This revelation. This epiphany.
Without this moment of despair, I might not have slowed down.  I might not have stopped with the lists.  I might not have just blessed His name.
Coming to Him with so much to say, wanting to rush the intimacy, the conversation, I almost missed it.  That peace and healing I needed.
It didn't come from me asking and Him giving, though it sometimes does and can.  It came from me obeying.  Me blessing the name of the Lord.
And in my obedience I saw His power, His love, just waiting for me.  A love so strong it has cried out for me to come accept it my entire life.  Waiting for me to step into the bedchamber and be with Him.  Just He and his bride.  Just us.  He has washed me clean, and I can be with Him forever.
At once the silence is truly silenced.  I feel peace wash over and I finally understand why this is His greatest commandment.  To love Him, with all of me.  To bless Him without ceasing.
In love I will start there.  In hope I run there.  In faith I rest there.
With Him and for Him.  Because of Him.  Amen.