On being scared

Before I came into hospital this time someone asked me if I was scared. My fairly unhelpful response was to burst into tears and abandon the phone. But it was a good question.

I’m not scared of death. Why would I be? I firmly believe in an eternity of glory. Bring it on.

Dying, however, is a different thing.
I’m scared of a long and painful dying.
I’m scared of years of watching life go by, as I’m able to do less.
I’m scared of the pain things cause my family.
I’m scared of leaving my husband alone.
So, yes, I’m scared.

At times I think that I’ve lost my faith. After all, how could someone who is so scared and worried be truly trusting in God’s plan? A friend said this to me: ‘Faith is still faith even when you are holding on by your fingertips.’ And it’s so true.

Every day I find something hard. It’s usually health related. And often I can’t find the words when it comes speaking to God about it. In my latest really not great spell, I could hardly make sense of anything. I went in and out of consciousness. But all the time two words echoed round my head: ‘Please Lord.’ I didn’t know what I was asking. I was scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen. But in my fear, I went to the one safe place. I ran to my Father. And that was enough.

God doesn’t demand total and perfect faith and hold it against me when I don’t deliver.
He doesn’t lose his temper when I don’t learn my lessons first time.
And He listens to my prayers when I cry out to Him. Even if those cries are just two words spoken into silence.

In my life, fear isn’t a barrier to faith. It’s a bridge. When I’m scared, I need somewhere to run. And my Father has shown me that in those times He’s the kindest, He’s the best and He’s the safest place to run.

On my own

It’s the beginning of a Tuesday evening. Dinner is eaten, the dishes are piled up on the counter. Music bursts from the speakers on the shelf, inviting me to join in its happiness. But I am alone. My husband is at college, my family at home in London and here I am. Just me.

I turn off the music and look around. The dishes wait patiently and they can keep waiting. Washing up is not for me tonight. The house is messy, left over from my sister’s visit. It too can wait. I just want to sit here. Listening to the silence. Feeling my aloneness. Existing in my little world. As I sit, images, sounds, feelings come flooding into my mind. My sister’s laughter. The sounds of our voices mingling and clashing as we sang together. The touch of my husband’s kiss on my neck. His voice speaking the Word to me in our devotions. Good things. Perhaps not physically present but they are here in some way.

My soul feeds on memories, my body on crisps and things don’t look so bad after all.

Holidays are good things.

We relaxed.
We slept.
We played games.
We watched films. And lots of Frasier episodes.
We read fun books. Informative books. Crazy books. Theology books.
We sung Psalms. And other, less biblical songs.
We ate great food. And lots of it.
We saw beautiful creation. And marvelled at the Creator.
We welcomed 2 new members into our family holidays. And a dog.
We wept at the death of an extended family member. And thought about eternity.
We got to know each other better. And in doing so, we strengthened relationships.
We fell in love with God all over again.

Holy days indeed.

6 months.

New world, new people, new purposes. A lot changed six months ago as we said ‘I will.’ 2 little words changed us, changed our lives, changed our identities. And it’s a lot to get to grips with. Six months in, I still haven’t got it. Maybe it’s because I’m a slow learner, I’ll be the first to admit that. Maybe it’s because these changes are hard. Or maybe it’s because these changes never really stop still, never give you a minute to get used to them.

There have been hard changes. I always knew that would happen. I sat in a hospital room with a wall between me and my husband. A wall of physical pain and emotional pain with the question Why? written all over it in capital letters. I watched relationships change and knew that I’d never be able to get the old ones back. I had my daily schedule interrupted, my habits questioned and my property shared. Petty, perhaps, but still harder than you might think.

But I’ve tasted goodness in new ways. God pronounced his creation to be very good. And so do I. This thing works. We’re still babies. We can’t colour in the lines. We can’t look after ourselves. We can’t even walk without falling over. But we’re growing. We’ll never get there, whatever ‘there’ might be, but we’re noticing the growing and that counts. I believe in God’s grace now more than ever. I understand Jesus’s death now more than ever. I feel the Spirit working now more than ever. In just six months.

It’s funny how you think you know what’s coming and yet what actually comes is so different and so much more glorious than you thought. It’s funny how small our minds are. I’ve been given a glimpse of something more and something greater. I’m living this bride thing in a more tangible way than I was. And the beauty of it scares me. How can I do this? This bright, beautiful, wonderful, pure thing? And yet the very one who asks me to be his bride helps me to become his bride. I see love lived out in front of me and it helps me become lovely. I see purity lived out in front of me and it helps me become pure. I see strength and kindness and laughter and weeping and prayer and in those things I am changed.

It is a new world. I have a new calling. I’m to be a new person. I have a new person to die for and a new one to live for. I’m to breath a new breath of life and live it out. Here I am.

Thank you, David.
I love you.

On illness, marriage and traffic jams

As of yesterday David and I have been married 11 weeks. It feels like a very long time although I do realise we’re still very much novices! One of the reasons it feels so long is that we seem to have gone through a fair amount in those 11 weeks. People call the first year of marriage the honeymoon period and often expect that nothing bad will happen in that time if not a lot longer. And for lots of people this is true. But I’m one of those people who feel old at things fairly quickly. I’ve had certain struggles that not many people have to face this young and those have carried on into marriage and have got harder for both of us in a short space of time. I’m always ill at some level but I’ve been pretty ill for 8 of our 11 weeks and continue to be so. Nobody really knows why this is happening and this brings the uncertainty about our earthly future that we’ve always felt quite strongly even more close to home.

It’s an amazing thing when you believe in something so wonderful that you totally trust for the future. I walked down the stairs today and heard my two favourite Davids discussing how envious they were of the way I’ll realise a bit more than them just how fabulous the New Creation will be. ‘Just imagine how it will feel for her to run and breathe deeply without coughing.’ Haha, boys. There are perks of CF after all.

It never ceases to amaze me how when things are hard our Father’s care shows more deeply and shines more brightly. The small things are often the most amazing. Today we were coming back from visiting my parents and I wasn’t feeling great at all and was very keen to get back. We saw a sign on the M25 that warned us of an accident and therefore delays. I groaned inwardly and prepared myself for a very long trip. Soon we got to a point where the road splits and one lane separates from the other two. They were all pretty busy so David picked the one that separates and we settled ourselves down for a wait. But then our lane picked up speed and we travelled fast while the other two lanes were totally stationary. Eventually we passed the accident that had totally blocked the other two lanes and it was obvious that they weren’t going to be moving for a good long while. I looked at David and told him he’d picked a good choice of lane. David turned to me and said, ‘No, your Heavenly Father just knew that it wasn’t good for you to be in a car longer than you needed to today.’ 
The past 11 weeks have given me more proof (as if I really needed it) of how much God loves me. I never expected to be married. I never had a great view of myself anyway but add CF to the mix and I thought I was the last person that any man would ever choose. But then, with God’s prompting and in His plan, David came along. I never thought I would hear any man promise ‘in sickness and in health.’ But then, in God’s mercy, I did. And even in 11 weeks that’s already been tested. When they say marriage is hard, they’re not joking. Even after 11 weeks I can testify to that. But when they say that marriage is worth it, you’d better believe it. Because it’s so true. 
God is good and there’s no denying it.