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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Turning 30.

Turning 30. And although I would like to shout and scream with Joey, well, things aren’t so bad at 30. Except of course for the nameless person that asked me if I could see 50 now… In my brighter moments I love the fact that God has brought me safe this far and if he can bring me through my teenage years and beyond there is a pretty good chance that he can get me home. I love that He has done good things in me and through me over the last 30 years. I look forward to more to come. On my good days I love psalms like this:

17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.

18 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.

On the bad days, 30 seems like a really long time to have lived, and I’ve still not got all the things I thought I would have, husband, steady job, mortgage, kids, a dog. I have however loved lots of my 20s, loved visiting cool places, loved hanging out with amazing friends, loved doing random jobs and loved seeing God be faithful time and time again.

And you know, it’s not so bad, except on those days when you realise you’ve visited 2 DIY shops and a garden centre on your day off and got excited about a garden table. Oh dear. At least I have others to share in the weirdness of finally reaching the age when I thought I’d be a grown up.

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Tonight is my last night in Fallowfield Crescent. It’s a strange feeling to be departing from this place that I have loved for four very very happy years. It’s been one of the best places I have ever lived, if not the best place I’ve ever lived. I’ve made some of the closest friends I have here and I’ve hung out, shared the love, had a brilliant place to live and work for all of the years in my current job. In short it’s been incredible. Last night I sat around with my current housemates and we relived the phases we’ve been through as a house, the knitting years, the hustle era, bagel lunches in front of Neighbours, the davina madness, Martin the cat, discovering House, and the endless reams of Friends episodes watched. I’ve lived here with Birgitte, Lizzi and Bodil over the years and it’s been a house that has welcomed others in, Cathy has her own key and we love inviting people over for wine and fun.

Tomorrow all that changes. Fallowfield will still be here, the magic will live on, Lizzi and Bodil and whoever moves in will carry on being hospitable, loving and enjoying life here. I will be moving to Hollingbury, not near Hove at all, in fact the very title of this blog will come into question tomorrow as I move across to Brighton. I’ll be living with Lou, Kev and Larry, we’ve had this crazy idea that God wants us to live as family together and to welcome all around us into that family. That He wants us to serve the community of Hollingbury, get to know them, be part of them and love them. That He wants us to live with each others interests as more important than our own and put aside the stuff of this world to serve others. To point others to the reality of Him. (Read Philippians 1 and 2 for actual proof of this.)

And so we’re going, I’m going to attempt to squeeze my vast amount of stuff into a room 2/3rds smaller than the size of this one (check out my fraction ability Dad :-). We’re going to attempt to live as family, not just being individuals living in a house but caring for each other, loving one another and welcoming all into our mad house. I’m excited and terrified. I’m scared and I’m loving this feeling of stepping over the cliff edge. We won’t have internet for a while but I’ll update you all on how it’s going when we do… Pictures included… I’m glad we’re not doing it alone, I’m glad we have a God who will help us love each other, forgive each other and keep on having hope because of His work in this world. I’m glad that this is only possible through Jesus and his example. And now I’m going to sleep. There is a long day ahead tomorrow as the beginning of this crazy journey starts.

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One of the things to swirl around my brain at the weekend was the genius nature of actual gospel friendship. That sounds like a very jargonified thing. But, what I mean by that is friendship that is based on the fundamental unvarnished truth about each other. Friendship that allows for each other to mess up in the most unbelieveably stupid and sinful ways and still says, I’m for you, and I believe in the power of God to bring good and redeem even this mess of a situation.

This is friendship that goes beyond our illusions of perfect lives that we like to try and maintain, and even goes beyond our acceptable sins, right down to the core of the stinking mess that we like to hide from everyone, including ourselves. For someone to see this mess, and then to not turn away horrified but to continue to love and hold out the message of hope is what the reality of the gospel brings in our lives. We have a God who called us when we were his enemies, and who knows the real state of our hearts, and yet still lavishes his love on us. Our friendships need to reflect this.

Too often I live to impress and think that if I impress enough people with my growth and improvement I’ll have made it. The truth is that I am still a sinner. I still get it wrong, and I seem to find ever more twisted ways of rejecting my Maker. The way of living that lives to impress only serves to keep me living in illusion, I then must do all I can do maintain that illusion and so my soul shrivels. The kind of friendship that sees the flaws, the pride, the mess within and carries on loving and is committed to real change is so breath takingly freeing. We can then be free to be our messed up selves with no illusions, and free to face the reality of grace committed to us whatever. I count myself honoured to have seen that kind of friendship on display through the Relay programe, in the lives of Andy Shudall, Nigel Pollock, Marcus Honeysett and more. Hearing them talk about times when they’ve rebuked each other, and been rebuked by others and seeing that wasn’t the end of the friendship or their story in life and ministry is brilliantly encouraging.

This kind of friendship involves trust, exposure, reality and awareness that we are works in progress, sadly it’s always more surprising to me than others when I discover my sin, but to have people around who know the truth and still offer grace, mercy and love is the best way to reflect the character of our most loving Father.

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Here’s what we got up to this fine Sunday afternoon. The sun made us smile today and so it was only right that we had some time playing in it. Fortunately this coincided with the arrival of several tons of wood on Hove beach. Read to see the slightly unfortunate tale of how it ended up there. We particularly enjoyed the creativity of others:

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I like that whenever faced with a large amount of building material our natural instinct is to create something with it. So, inspired by the model Brighton pier we decided to build a fort.

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Pretty cool eh? Sunny Sunday afternoons really are the best.

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