Monday, 26 June 2017

But God...

So for the past week I have been in a very bad place - and I struggled to get out. I've been literally surviving one day at a time.


I've mentioned that I've been going to a counsellor - which has been a fantastic experience. BUT the down side of counselling is the having to process everything and deal with the fallout of delving deep inside. 


Thoughts I believed that weren't real mixed in with things I didn't dare believe. Achievements battered by thoughts of failure. Good experiences always drowned out by the bad. 


And when you stop to actually look into them and start to dissect them they get even worse. 


And that's where I've been this week. I have been constantly chasing thoughts around my head - to the point that even sensible suggestions or things asked of me totally threw me. It was as if I no longer could tell the difference between the truth and the lies. I could no longer tell the difference between life as it is meant to be and life in my mess of a head. 


It's a horrible place to be. 


But God... 


Those words follow so many stories because we have an amazing God! I know that I feel like I need a miracle to sort my head out, but I also know that I have a God that specialises in them! 


But God... 


He comes alongside and allows me to just be still in His presence. And that's what I need most right now. So that's my plan for the next weeks. To be still and know that He is God. 


So this morning I got up to do just that... 



I got a copy of "Pressing Pause" to work through this summer wih some friends. I haven't been the greatest at keeping up but this morning I made a special effort to reprioritise God and got up to read. It was the story of Mary and Martha, where Martha was busy busy busy and Mary sat at the feet of Jesus just being still in His presence. 


I do love how God just brings you  just what you need when you need it! This was so specifically for me and I actually laughed when I read it! God just keeps amazing me over and over! 


Keep shining xx 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

And now...

So I've finished my 30 day challenge - and I seriously loved it. Some of the issues and prompts were a little too personal to share here, but all in all I found it a very rewarding experience. I definitely know myself and my thought patterns a little better now! 


So what's next? 


Well - I'm glad you asked!!! 😀😀


Starting tomorrow I am starting to reorder my life, bringing back into balance all the bits that have either become my main focus in a wrong way,  or fallen by the wayside completely. I'm hoping to go through some study questions and blog my thoughts, as well as share some podcasts that I have been finding amazing as well! And the first was from last Sunday at AEC - my local church family. Our Pastor has been doing a great series on being more real in our relationships, I think I've mentioned it before, and last weeks was very challenging. So I'll share it with you tomorrow! 


But for now - a little tune to tide you over - one of my favourites! 



Friday, 2 June 2017

Rejection...

I think I'm finally ready to share this post!!!! 

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I love planning!!! 

Over the last few years, as I trained to be a classroom assistant / teaching assistant, I thought about continuing my education and going the whole hog to train to teach. I was excited. I was doing my CA course, enjoying my placement at the boys' school and loving learning again. 

I decided on my life plan. I'd finish this course, get a job in the school, get on the part-time BA Honours degree course at Stranmillis (our local teaching college/uni), work while I completed it, then do my PGCE and start to teach! Easy as pie! 

So I started off. My course started in September. By November there were several jobs up for CAs in my school - I thought this was it! Happy days!! I applied for them ALL - all 5 or so! (By the way - that's an awful lot of application forms to fill out at the same time!!!) I waited. I heard rumours of the interviews and I didn't get one. 

Realistically I knew that it was because I didn't meet the criteria - I was only in the middle of my course, and I had no experience. But I was a bit sad. I had thought my plan was starting. But it wasn't. I had to be patient. 

Christmas came and I got the surprise of my life. Unfortunately one of our staff wasn't well and I was asked to do some emergency cover hours. Wow... I was on top of the world, apart from also feeling gutted for M as she really wasn't well. It's a very weird situation to be in - feeling happy and sad at the same time! But yet again my plan was starting to unfold in front of my eyes. I was getting experience and that could only help get me a proper job! 

And so we reached the end of my course. I was still working, so that was great, but I found out I was too late to apply for Stranmillis (our local teaching college). I told myself it was probably for the best and that a year to get used to working was a great idea, before continuing my education. 

Fast forward six months and I got to apply for my course. I was more excited than anything, and when I finally got an interview I was more nervous than I've ever been in my life. This was my chance. I could do this. I'm smart, I'm chatty and I know what I'm talking about. All I have to do is show them! 

And then I got this letter... 



What? What? 

How did I not get in? 

It's not a big course but there are places in two campuses. How on earth did I not get in? 

I asked for feedback. I wasn't planning on appealing - I just couldn't understand why I had failed.

And the result -  I didn't talk enough. 

It was fine that I knew what to say and had it all planned out, but unfortunately the staff at Stran are not mind-readers and since it didn't come out, they had nothing to go on. 

I can talk ten to the dozen, but I didn't talk enough when it mattered. 

I have to admit I took it quite hard. This was my plan. And it was wrecked. This was what I was going to do and now I couldn't. I felt like a failure. And I cried all afternoon.

And the devil jumps when he sees saints crumble like this. Straight away I found all my thoughts going back to other times I'd failed, to other times when I had felt not good enough, and to other times that I had not performed as I needed to. I felt awful. And the worst was still to come. 

Instead of it stopping there, I had another important interview to come. My job - the one I'd been doing for 18 months now - had to be advertised as M had officially retired, and I had to apply for it. 

Thankfully I did get an interview, but now all I could think was that I was also going to fail it, and have my job taken away for good. I was convinced that someone else would interview better than me, or would have better experience or just be better... It was debilitating.

But it's funny how God gives you the exact verses that you need when you need them? I got a couple of verses right after each other - from this one :




To this thought : 


To this: 


Our Heavenly Father is amazing, isn't He!!! 

Alls well that ends well and I was overjoyed to get my job permanently!! I did have a very funny interview, as God does have a wonderful sense of humour, does He not, but I'll maybe share that another time!!! 

My point is this. You cannot let the devil and his minions into your thought process. He comes to kill, steal and destroy and he will do it any way he can. For me, he started by helping me plan my life away - in a plan that took no account of God's divine plan for me. I decided what I wanted to do and figured out how I could do it. But that's obviously NOT God's plan for me right now. 

Then he took my disappointment, which was perfectly natural, and made it into a time of self-pity, failure and self-loathing. I was lost for a couple of days in a 'what if' scenario and it was horrible. He killed my self-esteem, stole the joy of getting an interview for my job in the first place, and destroyed all my confidence. And I let him.

But then I turned to the one person I should have started with. HE took my self-esteem and reminded me how much He loved me - enough to die for me. HE took my disappointment and showed me a bigger plan than I could have ever imagined. HE took my mess and reminded me that He is in control. 
Hallelujah!! What a saviour!!! 

So next time you get a rejection of some sort - pause and think whether it's really a sign of failure or a reminder that God is in control and we need to trust Him. (Hint: it's all about God!!!)

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A year has passed since that letter arrived through my door. And what a year that has been. It's been hectic and full of activities, running here there and everywhere and lots of fun! 

So today one of my prompts was this question and I finally thought it would be time for this! 


And my reply? 

"Thank you Stranmillis teaching college for giving me a group interview which I didn't talk enough in, thus leading you to reject me from joining your university. Thank you for seeing what I couldn't and for understanding that this mum of 4 was never going to be able to drive up and down to Belfast two days a week just to do another degree. Thank you for pushing me towards maths yet again, as I enjoy getting to prove things day after day and getting giddy when I get things right! "

Keep shining xx 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Games

Have a look at this. 



It occurred to me the other day that I have now played this 'daily challenge' on the Flow Free game for 178 days IN A ROW... that's almost 6 months! That's some achievement - or is it? 


This represents 178 days where I MADE SURE I didn't have to start all over again. Yet I don't think I've ever made it to 178 days straight in my quiet time. 


And yet God is the main thing in my life. That's what makes me tick. 


Why do I find it so hard to spend daily time with the most important person in my life? 


I struggle with discipline in all areas of my life, not just this one. But it really does annoy me that He is there waiting for me to meet with Him, to talk to Him, to spend time with Him, yet I choose to check Facebook, read an email or play a game. 



I do know that when I press pause and give God the first moments of my day, immersing myself in His love and guidance, things go so much better. I may still experience problems, but even then my attitude to them is completely different. 


So why not make it a priority every day? Because I'm lazy that's why. When it boils down to it, id rather hit the snooze button and have an extra 5 or 10 minutes in bed than spend it in God's presence. I'd rather sit down in the evening and play games on my phone than take the time to read His Word. 


And that's not good. 


So I am deliberately NOT going to play my game tomorrow. 


And then, on Saturday morning, I am only going to do the daily challenge if I have already spent some quality time with God. And the emphasis is on quality. No rushing through it to get to play my game - I want to sit in God's Word and spend time talking to Him. 


Then I'll see clearly how many days I can go before I miss a day and have to start again. Hopefully we'll check back in another 178 days and you'll see a much changed me! 


Keep shining xx