Oh good grief there's already an exclamation mark, I must be feeling perky. Brace yourselves.
Before I go any further, here's a nice picture. This is her happy face. Can't think where she got that grin from.
So we went home and here’s a list of tings (yup, tings, because I’m street) that were just lovely. If you’re not specifically named on the list please don’t be offended because my attention span is shorter than Beth’s and the only thing worse than that is my memory. So I love you but I might not remember to put you on this blog today. Plus I’m listening to my beloved writing support group, One Republic, and every now and again will be shaking it around the lounge and not concentrating on writing this thing. Responsible, I is not. Having fun, I is.
Grandparents who babysit and Auntie Roadie and Uncle Annie, meals out with hubby and starlit walks along the beach in Greece, Beth in the sea after she’d recovered from her original aversion (which is what you get when Daddy gets excited and literally drops you in on your first day but that’s Ok because here’s a terrifying rubber contraption into which we have forced you why are you crying?)
Um. Beth weeing copious amounts on members of my immediate family because we'd run out of swim nappies, which is code for I wanted her to feel unencumbered and at one with nature. Pee freely my little love! On Granny!
So many, many faces of people that I have missed so much that it has hurt. Smiling faces.
Hugs, hugs from people who know me and love me anyway and all the cups of tea and that weird Narnia feeling of a year actually only being a day in the real world and your life was always here for you while you had your adventures. All the loved people and loved places solid and faithful and you're not forgotten and there is still somewhere on planet earth where you're considered normal. Sort of.
Brighton you vile stinky shopping heaven and your overpriced buses and oh Boots meal deals how do I love thee? Let me count the ways, you veggie crisps and prawn salads and fair trade chocolate dream factory.
The cinema! Even though the film was quite terrible! Yay!
I got to talk to Christine Angel and that woman's name is well deserved. She's a proper missionary.
Meeting a certain lovely boyfriend for the first time. Hanging for an avo with an excited bride to be. Crying for a true friend. Praying for her too. A day in the park with a family who inspire and accept us all at the same time and who we miss a lot.
Going off the HOOK because for two evenings I got to worship in my own language. When it comes to worship, yes it is possible for a human to physically go off the hook in the manner of a club or tune or event, on the inside.
Chips. Curry. Chinese takeaway. Pork pies.
Not working out for three whole weeks.
Getting a tan, ish.
Going snorkelling with John who demands that we swim to a really deep scary bit that turns out to be really boring so then he demands that you climb out of the sea via a rock face and then he demands that you walk back, past a restaurant, in a bikini and as you draw level with the bored and staring faces you trip and fall over and kind of spill out of your hastily purchased and inadequate bikini. Getting back to find that B has done another wee on Granny. Good times.
John would put golf in this but i'm not going to because golf is stupid.
Right, so I have to cap this because in 30 mins we're making Allachka (it's like a soppy way of saying someone's name here - Frithachka, Bethchka, Kate Middletonchka, Rhiannachka - I put some celebs in there because I am cool and relevant) go to bed because we're parents and there's routine and stuff now. It's lovely.
So to my point. Everything you've read thus far hasn't even been the point. How annoying. I would have put a jump thing in but I couldn't be bothered.
I communicated very badly with our church.
We did a very successful and lovely QandA with people, there was cake, we were interviewed at the front like proper Christians and we gave succint (ish) summaries of what we're doing and I even made a power point thing. People came away informed. Our projects outlined, our activities explained, Ukraine analysed etc etc.
As an aside, it is good that we did a feedback thing. The way I would explain how we afford food and stuff is as thus:
We do something that the world (in this instance, the Ukrainian or British government) is never going to pay us to do. But we believe that it needs doing. Our friends also think it needs doing and while God hasn't told them to get on a plane and do it themselves, they have been prompted to give us their hard earned money so we can carry on doing it. We live by faith and so do you.
Faith and love and kindness going round and around and changing the world. Money is involved. Because it's cold here and the kids need shoes.
So yeah, it was important to explain where the money goes. And because the need is so great, it is also important to set people alight for Ukraine (not, like, literally cos then they won't want to fund stuff), so that more money can come in to pay for more lives to be saved.
But the bit I missed out? The WHY.
My beautiful friend was asking me this over curry - chatting about how we're not doing it (Ukraine, YWAM, T- home, all of it) because of such and such but because of God and I sat there confused and speechless because i'd been in PR mode for two weeks. Projects, projects, orphans, orphans, power points and tea and hardy ha and honest but not quite the point.
So if we gave you the impression that we live in Ukraine to help orphans, I apologise. Let me correct myself.
We're in Ukraine because of Jesus. Not because he loves Ukraine, which he does. Not because he is broken hearted over how we don't care for our (they're ours even if they're in Ukraine not England because in this age of internet all ignorance is willful and we are responsible) children, and I think he is. Not because of telling people about who he is, what he's done and what is on offer. And that would be legit. It's a good reason.
But this God of ours isn't into what I can do for him, he's not even into what I can do for people.
He's about me, and him, and this dance and this life and this discovery of this self that He is. This galaxy of mystery, these unsearchable riches, this paradox of love and justice and Himself, Himself, Himself.
It's about relationship with Him.
All of it.
To love an orphan? To open your home? To give clothes and food and a bed and jokes and cuddles?
Yeah, that's not the point. That's just projects.
To love an orphan is not fulfilling, it's not even powerful. And it only happened for me after a decade of hanging out with the scandalous, angry, happy, controversial, comforting, stunning One. Any power or fulfillment in what we're doing comes from the fact that we're where He wants us to be, bumping into Him when we walk round corners, looking up from our work and realizing with a jolt that we're working next to Him, learning new songs to sing about / to Him, finding out what He thinks about Allachka or B. Watching Him work. Discovering how he works. His hands.
Sorry for making it look like we're grownups trusted with your money to do clever and effective projects for 'the Kingdom'.
Really, we're just in love.