One day, Tuesday, Wednesday…weekend yet?

So, I feel like I’m ready for the weekend already – I had to work on Monday because we had a few emergency things in Hastings that I had to deal with, so I’ve already done three days and I feel like tomorrow should be Friday so that Friday can be Saturday so that I can sleep.

I want sleep. Sleeeeeeep. Today I went to EMP, which was brilliant, and then I had a slightly later start at work this morning so I was able to go to the breakfast at Wetherspoons, but then when I got into work I was faced with a to-do list that had 16 points on it, and went almost straight into a meeting and came out of said meeting with another 5 to-do points.

How many of my points did I complete today?

Three

Not great, really, but I’m not going to worry about it, I’ll just get a better start on it tomorrow. It’s not like I did nothing all day, just things kept cropping up that needed urgent attention. My to-do list is mostly typing: I’ve got about seven meeting reports (total of about 13 hours worth) to type up. I can get that done whenever, really, but I like to be up-to-date with everything so I can just pull it out when someone mentions a decision or a query.

Anyway.

It’s been a while since I blogged, so what have I done recently:

– went to the cinema twice, saw the First Grader, and Sarah’s Key. Both made me cry, I’ve read the book of Sarah’s Key and that made me cry, it’s a really harrowing book, and the film was more horrific. It was accurate to the book, apart from one bit which didn’t change the story. I’m actually glad they changed it.

– had a fun worship night with some girl friends, with dinner and singing and prayer – it was awesome

– tidied my rooooooom!

– made lots of plans for fun things in the next month or so!

– RSVP’d to my best friend’s wedding and hen weekend

– wrote and sent a lot of letters, catching up with lots of friends

– looked into which gym to join

– looked into which counselling course I might like to do, but they are all super expensive and I don’t think I’d be able to fund it myself…work may support me in part but lots of the proper qualifications are full-time college courses. Grr.

– made chocolate orange muffins, which were incredibly delicious

– went to a dinner party, for my cell leader Simon’s birthday – 12 of us around a makeshift table, having a lot of laughs and some great food. The table was literally home-made, Faith had got a big sheet of MDF of something, and some legs, and put some beakers on top of stools to make sure that the tabletop didn’t droop (really!!!) and it was a lovely evening getting to chat with everyone and catch up on everyone’s summer.

– caught up with my discipler, and had a sweet evening sat talking on the sofa with her, sewing the hems on her three boys’ school trousers whilst she finished the ironing.

– caught up with my best friend, who has moved back to Bedford before her wedding, I haven’t seen her in a while so it was nice to catch up on her news and wedding plans and things.

– frustrated Rosie a lot because my laptop has decided that it’s not speaking to our internet router, so that I’m having to borrow hers if I want to do anything…

… including this, and now I need to give it back so I’m gonna end here…and post an update on my first non-serving, non-Impact Sunday at church later!

-x-

And I’m sure I’ve done an awful lot more than that.

 

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1 week to go

Happy Monday, World!

Today is the start of my final Impact week. I can’t actually believe it’s going to be ending on Sunday…it’s a very surreal thought. Right now I don’t think I’m truly entertaining it. I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad that it’s ending. I know I’m looking forward to the next ‘phase’…working full-time (after my 2 week holiday that is). I can’t really imaging not doing Impact, but then at the same time I know that I couldn’t imaging myself doing it forever.

My house is back to normal now – Rosie has a new carpet and her furniture is now back in her room, and I’ve rearranged mine. Some people might suggest that 10 o’clock at night isn’t the best time to shift furniture around, but I am not one of them!! My wardrobe did almost collapse on me as I tried to rotate it, but fortunately it (and I!!) remained intact and it is now in a much better position.

I do have photos, but I can’t upload them because I’m using Rosie’s laptop. Mine has died, for good, which is sad because now I have to try and do all kinds of tricky fancy stuff to get all my photos etc off my hard-drive. I’ll upload new photos when I’ve got my new laptop, which hopefully won’t be too long.

So now home is lovely and clean and tidy and nice, except that Rosie isn’t here 😦 She has gone on holiday today, and won’t be back until the middle of my holiday…so we won’t see each other for a few weeks now. It’ll be the middle of August by the time I’m back from holiday, and I can’t really imagine that! I’m enjoying having two whole weeks of holiday (including 3 weekends!!!) to relax and do nothing, if I so choose.

Can’t wait!

-x-

Last training and a trip to Minor Injuries

This week we had our final Impact training block…I can’t quite believe that it’s over, as it feels like there is still so much to learn and I’m just getting excited about it again! 😦

We had a rocky start on Monday morning (never put petrol into a diesel engine!) as we had to call out the RAC and be taken to a garage to have the engine completely drained and sorted,  but were on the road by 9.30am and arrived in really good time, at 11am  – walking into the training room to see Liam Thatcher throwing balloons at the group and yelling things like “GRACE”, “POWER”, “EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING!”. It was weird. But later made sense, as we were studying Ephesians. Which may be one of my favourite books (although this accolade is bestowed on each new book I read, so will probably change again next week!)

Tuesday was a day on practical (and prophetic) evangelism, which incorporated an afternoon of ‘treasure hunting’ in the centre of East Grinstead. Definitely a challenge to my security in my Father, as you have to really lay yourself on the line in going up and talking to people. It was incredible though, I got to pray with a teenage girl whose mum has heart failure and we were able to encourage her to go to the New Life youth group as well. It was fun, after all the anxieties earlier in the day.

Tuesday evening we had a really fun social time, possibly the last one where we’ll all be together and we ate pizza and played Mafia (I was a Mafia, and I genuinely suck at it because I’m not a very good liar and when I get accused I can’t bluff it out very well!!)

And then Wednesday, our final day, was on Church Planting. It was alternately terrifying and faith building, which I think is a pretty good balance really. I felt very encouraged and inspired, though I don’t feel I’m called to church plant now I am completely open to God preparing me and refining me for whatever He wants…and the day’s training made me feel much more excited about the possibility of doing it one day. And the guy, Steve Petch, who did the training also did a very cool study of 1, 2 and 3 John to give us some ideas about church planting through those letters. I’ve never really heard teaching on 2 or 3 John (we’re doing a series on 1 John at InVision right now) and it was really cool to see how they fit together and what their purpose was in that time. It made a lot of sense. Maybe the Johns are my favourite books!

In other news this week: I had to visit the Minor Injuries Department today because I managed to squash my finger between two massive, heavy catering trolleys and I’ve got a “deep, wide, oozing laceration”. I’ve been steri-stripped, glued and bandaged to within an inch of my life! And I managed to nearly faint twice, even though I’m usually great at blood-situations! (As evidenced by yesterday, when I helped Philippa and Chris at their 5yo son’s birthday party and his friend ran at full-pelt into a screen door, and bounced off it with a waterfall of blood gushing from his poor nose. Apparently I’m calm under pressure, as long as the blood flowing is not my own…then I become a nauseated, near fainting wuss!)

 

Back in the game

It’s been over a month since I last blogged, and in that time many-many-many things have happened…

1) I moved house!! Rosie and I moved into our lovely “apartment” on 30th April and were so blessed by the amazing friends who a) gave us things for our home and/or b) helped us with the actual moving. We are still amazed that our whole home is furnished, and yet the only things we bought ourselves are a fridge (second hand, but practically new) and odd bits and pieces for the kitchen, such as cutlery and a toaster. All the other bits; beds, sofa, armchairs, dining table, wardrobes, were given to us for free!!! Either from freecycle/freegle or by kind people in our church. It’s astounding, but so lovely and such as a great witness to all our friends who aren’t Christians, who can see the love of Christ reflected in how we have been blessed by our church community.

2) Memory Verse Monday was discontinued for a while, in favour of a more specific three week study of verses about joy. God really spoke to me through Psalm 30:5, “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning” … I’ve always liked this verse, since the first time I read it, and it’s always been a source of reassurance because I know that it’s true. However, over recent weeks I’ve struggled to find joy in things – I have really wanted to, and have strived not to allow things to get to me and steal my joy but it has been a real struggle  – hence making the decision to focus simply on JOYFUL verses. I wrote lots out and blu-tacked them above my bed so that I could see and read them every morning and evening.

Despite that, though, I still felt bleugh some days. And I found it hard to believe Psalm 30:5, because when I went to bed miserable or grumpy or stressing, I found I was waking up in the same mood and it was bearing down on me like a black cloud. And then God spoke to me, and it was incredible – He showed me two important words at the centre of that verse: JOY COMES.  It was a little like a light came on, and I saw what I never had before.  Joy comes, whether it’s the morning after the misery before, or maybe two weeks down the line – God revealed that really, when you turn to Him and wait on Him, joy will come. I like that, a lot!

3) I had my weekend off of the term, over the Bank Holiday weekend – almost four whole days at home! It was lovely, really restful and I got to see Jessica and Dad, Michelle and Callum twice over the four days – the girls and I had Jessica round to our house on Sunday afternoon; she was such a treasure! She’s such a happy, smiley little girl…and she was so settled at our house, I was worried she’d freak a little but really she was a star! And I love that she recognises us when she sees us, she knows we are her sisters and it’s great to think of what she’ll be like when she’s older 🙂

4) Only two months left til the end of Impact. I don’t know how I feel about that, really. I’m sad that it’s going to be over, and there are a few things I kind of regret not doing, but I think I am ready for it to end. That sounds awful, it’s not like I’m counting down the days or anything, but I think I’ve always known that this was just 11 months and that afterwards there would be more things to do – and I’m excited to start working full-time and be a ‘proper’ grown-up. I’m quite aware of saying “when I’m working”, in the same way that people say “when I’m married”/”when I have kids” etc. I used to say “when I’m at Uni” and then “when I’m on Impact”, as it that would suddenly ‘fix’ all my issues and I’d suddenly become this amazingly well-rounded and sorted person, but life really isn’t like that! I don’t want to give myself any illusions that working full-time will be the perfect thing, but I think that I am just anticipating this next ‘stage of life’ and looking forward to it knowing that I am armed with the greatest weapons and guarded with the strongest armour anyone can have: the Lord.

 

“Weeping may tarry for a night, but joy comes in the morning”     Psalm 30: 5

 

confessions of a workaholic

Wow. It’s been months since I last posted. Life has been a little (well, a lot!) crazy. (That’s really bad grammar right there!) I won’t be boring and post a super-long explanation of all that’s going on, so here is a summary.

Right now I’m in Devon, staying with my lovely mum for some much-needed TLC. Why ‘much-needed’? Well…it turns out, and this is a real shocker, I am not super-human. Bummer, huh?!

That’s a shorter summary than I intended. And, also a little more flippant, cos what’s really going on in my life is a bit more heavy-going.

I kind of had a little meltdown, and got completely exhausted and overwhelmed with just about everything; to the extent where I had to be signed off work for two weeks (which has been extended for another two weeks, so a total of a month off).

I got to the stage where I couldn’t even feel happy when I woke up in the morning, because I knew the day that was ahead of me would just be jam-packed full of stuff, that I just couldn’t deal with. I think the’technical term is “burn-out”, which lots of people – mostly ex-Impactors – warned me against; but me, being me, thought I was totally above all that and I had it sorted.

Um…no.

An older lady at my church in Plymouth, when I explained why I was home, looked at me and said “there is a reason why God made a Sabbath, Sarah.”

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the stuff that I do [by the way; stuff isn’t the best word, because I truly care about every student I meet with or disciple, and I love all my tasks and responsibilities…but I’m not gonna write a huge list of what I do].

But loving the stuff is the problem. On our first day of Impact training, Rachel Wilson gave us seven top-tips…one of which was “JESUS is the bread of life, not church.” It is so easy to completely pour myself into all the stuff, and run around like a crazy person, and then fall into bed at whatever-o’clock, feeling absolutely exhausted and having spent no time with God in that entire day (except for maybe a rushed “please God, give me energy right NOW!” prayer) and tell myself that it’s ok, because God created me and made me a servant-hearted person, only to wake up a few hours later and do the whole thing again.

I mean, I like busy-ness, but it all got way too much, and I didn’t let on to anyone that I was having a hard time. I couldn’t. I’m my own worst enemy in that respect, because I hate to ask for help (and here’s the biggest confession: I often can’t even bring myself to ask for help from God, which is just wrong)

There is probably some big psychological explanation for why I find it so hard…but I think it’s pretty simple really:

I have always been the “go-to” person: the one that my friends went to for advice, and help…because they knew that I was reliable, and loved them and would make myself available to them. (None of these things are bad things, by the way. They’re actually biblical, but don’t ask me for a reference) And really, I like being  the “go-to” person. I like knowing that people will come to me for help, trusting that I will try to help them. I love that God has made me into that person.

Here’s a question though: who does the “go-to” person get to go to?

The answer is “God”, always…but also, other people (like friends and a discipler). There is comfort to be had in relationships with other people; as some person said somewhere, “a problem shared is a problem halved” – it’s an over-used phrase but it’s true.

Even though I know that, I struggle so much to actually put it into practice. It’s very hypocritical really, because I disciple five amazing young women – they are beautiful and fun and striving to be Godly, and I’m there telling them that they can call me anytime to chat and pray, because God gave us these relationships for our own good – but then in my own relationships I refuse to make myself vulnerable because I’m scared that people will think I’m weak.

How can I expect my girls to be vulnerable, and honest, and accountable to me, and to lean on God, when I am leaning completely on my own strength rather than his.

There is a happy point to all this, I promise! Being signed off was a big wake up call, and showed me that I need to start making changes and breaking down the walls that I’ve put up around myself – because ultimately they are hurting me and they are hurting God; because me burning myself out by doing everything in my own strength is really not glorifying to him at all. We need rest, and sleep, and time that is just for God and us.

Somewhere along the way I forgot how good my God is; that he is a King who brings rest and sustains all things (including me) but I’m remembering now.

For a great resource to remind you of who God is, look here: http://www.thecitychurch.org.uk/autoplayLQ.php?video=480