Friday, 30 November 2012


I've been trawling the blogs lately and it turns out that there are a lot of blogs. There's 'I know Jesus better than you so here are my (generally unoriginal)  thoughts' blogs. There's 'I made cookies!' blogs and 'life is what I decide it is, here is my half baked philosophy' blogs. I particularly enjoy 'photos of my face in a variety of shades' blogs. I genuinely waste hours on photography of babies blogs, and I will not be ashamed. Babies are awesome. So is craft, I also like craft blogs. But i'm vexed by the religious type blogs. And i'm vexed that i'm adding to them. It's noisy out there.

So I need to say sorry for when I get preachy - I don't want to fill cyberspace with more BELIEVE MY WORLDVIEW or I AM PERFECT or I AM COOLER THAN YOU.

Although, I am cooler than you.
So i'm going to be trying to make this blog a space where i'll just try to tell the truth about  my life. Words like missionary still kind of bring me out in hives. Words like sin and prayer and Bible and freedom and healing need to be dusted off and tried again,
until maybe we can see through them and glimpse something real. Through the veil.
Maybe we could take the veil away.

This is where I reach my meandered point - we're running a Discipleship Training School.
I've always been a bit snobby about YWAM's 'University of the Nations' ('it's not a real university' etc etc) (and it's not) but it doesn't need to be. It's better. It's something else. It's not trying to be the jaded institution where I wrote essays on old books and then someone gave me a bit of paper that reassures potential employers and my mum that I was able to attend at least half my classes and tick the boxes and say the right things and prove myself an independent thinker as long as I was reading the right books.
Disclaimer: Education is wonderful, and as a woman I am only just realizing how privileged I am to have been raised with the expectation that I would get a degree. The opportunities and career options offered by having a degree are still exciting and beautiful, and I loved my time university. Proper, proper loved it.
But the reason I loved it? Apart from the obvious things like thinking I was a grownup because I cooked my own meals and sat in a library dressed like a boho scholar filling my mind full of interesting things? And because I love exams?
I loved it 'cos of Jesus.
I will always treasure the three years where I fell in love with Him and discovered what adventure feels like.

And that's why we're running a DTS, because even though the world scorns Bible College and all the concepts therein, I don't care because DTS saved me from stagnant, selfish, stupid Christianity.

DTS took my lukewarm (ish), constrained faith and blew my brain into a million pieces. God used those 5 months to take this wounded heart and breathe peace, child, into my lungs. Filled my head with stuff that actually matters. I wrote that the teaching felt like a sunrise, and it still does every time I open my notebook. Cheesy. Don't judge me.

And now we're halfway through staff training, tired and brain dribbly and aware that we're not Holy enough to disciple other people, but standing grateful and glad to be trying. So pray for our next month as students ask to come along and we say 'sure!' and then try not to freak out as we look down the barrel of a travelling outreach with small babies. As we start trying to be strong or kind enough to not alienate someone from the process of letting Him in.

It's going to take grace. I think that's ok. But pray? 'Cos we're going to try to take the veil away. 

And here's Beth. Because I know you're all like 'but where's BETH?' and crying and stuff. 

She dribbles a lot. I made some bibs. She dribbled them to death. Now my sewing machine's broken. Wheeeee!

Good night. xxxx

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

You know you're a (very bad) missionary when...

- You hide Marmite from guests.

- You find 100g of cheddar in a supermarket and it costs three pounds fifty, and you buy it.

- The cheese on toast that results from this is the highlight of your week. 

- Your water comes from a well in the back garden, and turns your kettle orange but that's ok because 'it's only sulphur'.

- Annabel Karmel cannot help you here.

- You have fed your baby jarred rabbit. Once by accident, and a few times on purpose after that.

- You go into clothes shops but leave without buying anything because
a) you're too fat for the clothes
b) you understand nothing

c) the woman guarding the fitting rooms spoke to you but you couldn't work out what she was saying so you ran away

- Your tumble dryer is from the 80's. And it's German. So you spend hours on Google translate and then just have to risk it and set the bed linen to 'lack moisture' or 'completed fail'.

- Your child has never experienced Cbeebies. Instead she is very excited about pirated, low resolution Pingu. In Russian.

- You have only got the money (and will) to decorate one room in your house, and you don't go in it but sometimes hover in the doorway just looking at how beautiful it is. You post pictures of it on the internet.

- And yet you're so busy that this room is somehow strewn with clothes you don't remember wearing.

- Your baby has probably said her first word. You have no idea. She doesn't speak English. 

- If you open the laptop in front of your baby she will get a bit desperate to look inside it, because that's where her Grandparents live.

- Your baby's latest soft toy was stolen out of a bag of beanie babies donated to an orphanage.

- You're terrified. All the time. Of everything. If you could you'd just stay indoors forever.

- You make your own frozen ready meals.

- You forgot to pack toys to help her develop so she's still just licking teddies. And the mop. 

- You try to buy her toys to teach her to count and shiz, but a flashy singy ball costs thirty pounds and you leave the shop in bewildered shame.

- When people ask you what you want for Christmas you don't know what to say because 'everything' isn't acceptable. 

- Your main expenditure is air fares.

- You own the Lada that Jeremy Clarkson reviewed as 'the worst car i've ever driven'. 

- Said Lada fills you with contentment and happiness, and all your missionary friends would also like to own a Lada.

- You drive around for ages getting lost trying to find a baby stuff shop, you finally find the big signs to the baby stuff shop so you park up. You wake the baby. You assemble the buggy. You insert the baby. You follow the signs. You round a corner. It's not a baby stuff shop, it's a car wash

- You can buy really nice wine for two pounds! 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Screw it.

This was a hard post to write because it's super personal and also i'm super poorly. So as a form of light relief I shall now choose a fun song for you...
This is 'feel again' by One Republic and it makes me happy. The video is a bit meh but if you turn the song up really loud and jump about it's FUN. I will do that when I can walk and stuff. 

So let the thinkings commence:

So we live in community.

If you're not a Christian or haven't read the same books as me, you might not get what that means to me or what i'm trying to tell you.

In the book called Acts, inside the bigger book called the Bible, there's a bit that talks about what Christianity looked like when it was new. And nobody wanted for anything because everyone shared everything.

Sounds simple
and as a heady newbie to the Jesus following I was passionate about this - about doing relationships intimately and well, about bringing a bit of heaven's joy to the people around us, about living together in big groups and seeing each other all the time and helping each other and learning how to love in the face of the consumerist isolation of the culture I grew up in.

Yep. I'm a big ol' hippie.

The thing is: it's not that simple.
I've experienced Christian community in a few different ways - boiler rooms, church, DTS - and find myself now looking down a road of long term commitment to a small group of people who I don't yet know that well.

If I was perfect, this would be easy.
Every slight would be ignored, all wrongs instantly forgiven and forgotten, all belongings surrendered, no offence taken, no offence meant, no offence caused.
I'd share everything, right?

Instead, this is what me living in community looks like (it's an honesty smack down, people):
I get angry when people break my glasses.
I get angry when people draw on my sofa with biro (seriously, this happened like 3 weeks ago and i'm still writing about it, there is something wrong with that).
I get angry when people wake my baby up.
I get angry when people put things in the wrong place.
I get angry a lot.

But there's more, and it's more sad than a bit of sleep deprived stroppyness. It's actually really sad, and i'm sad when I see how broken my reactions are to things. (Sad.)

It's taken 10 years of Christian community for me to own this fact: I am insecure.
I don't mean about my weight or my ability to apply makeup or any of those other token insecurities that girls apparently must have, and I don't mean about my ability to follow or lead or write or other things we might consider deep.
I mean bone deep, soul deep insecurity, graven in scrubbed through etched insecurity. 

Not sure why - some hurts from life, some lies from the world, mostly just because I am a tiny human person walking small in this big scary world. And sin. 

You know how I see this insecurity in me working itself out? Judging. Judging others before they can judge me. Mouthing off. Slagging off. Justifying myself. Oh, what a messed up person I am. Scared and hateful and pretending. Which makes living in community quite difficult because of all the time and energy spent on building walls, keeping my scared heart safe, being numb, raging at everything, undermining people who should inspire me, coveting stuff, defending myself when nobody's attacked me...
(You're messed up too. Everyone is. Deal with it.)
So that is what I must confess this week, to the weird world of people I don't know who read this blog and trusted friends who read this blog and people i'd probably prefer if they  didn't read this blog...I am insecure.

And here's the twin conclusion:

1) This is very sad, but: I have not been left like this.
This insecurity - this sin, this falleness, this hurt, this fear, this unforgiveness - is not what was intended when God created us and we. are. not. abandoned.
I've got God, and he is healing me and urging me on and his kind, kind heart will take this muddled me and there will be a day when I will feel awesome ALL THE TIME. It's called Heaven. It's called Grace.

2) In the meantime, it's also called Grace. It looks like me realising that insecurities are smaller when you call them out of the shadows, that the fear is placed in nothing but lies, that the power of my God blasts through these stupid walls and windows and doors and this cage we accept called sin? Screw it.