My blog is about talking – sharing thoughts, even things that have shaped me. I was never one for saying much. So I still feel as though I’m climbing a mountain when I’m trying to express myself.
Some of us had it tough growing up – especially the quiet, shy, withdrawn types, or felt neglected ones, or maybe just different. Silence was safer.
Bullies are attracted to those. They get a perverse thrill ridiculing others’ in public. Bullies need an audience. Being dumped on over and over again, piles up inside our heads and pushes out all hope and reason, until we believe it. Even if it’s not true! We feel no one is on our side, because no one ever cares enough to tell us anything different.
That cuts deep down, because it rips out trust and replaces it with a shocking realisation (in our minds) that we’re unacceptable, just for being the way we are.
Sometimes we want to change ourselves, be someone else, just to be accepted, anything, not to be noticed or picked on. Maybe even run away, or harm our bodies, because that must be what they all hate, so we hate it too. Or even worse, we think of ending it all, because living with those feelings on your own, makes us feel like outcasts.
Someone once said, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I was terrified of being punished or laughed at – never allowed to make mistakes (or learn) so I avoided people and talking.
In my solitude I analysed everything, and wondered why it was all happening. Then I recognised pain in others and wanted to help, but fear and unworthiness, held me back.
My life drifted along aimlessly, like a dead twig on a stream. Each time I hit something I changed direction…
I went all over the place – unaware that I had a Guardian Angel watching over me through it all. The Lord Jesus Christ.
Here are some of my experiences I wrote down many years ago, but wasn’t sure how to tell it. Some from when I didn’t know Him as The Lord God, and some when I did. He was in control anyway. How privileged was I to have been graciously drawn in, albeit decades later? But there was much I had to learn through painful suffering first, because I just wasn’t listening.
After the crushing effects of divorce, all the wheels fell off. I moved around in a blurry atmosphere most of the time. I couldn’t go for an interview without having a panic attack. I took on various temping jobs, eventually I found myself working behind cosmetic counters. Anyway, here I was in a beautiful department store in Cape Town, working behind an equally beautiful counter, watching a shopper browsing languidly through many items of clothes hanging on the walls, whilst baby in the pram was crying non stop.
It tore my heart up till I couldn’t stand it anymore. The store was dead quiet being early morning still. I left my equally quiet counter and walked up to the pram, asking mum if I could hold the baby. “Oh yes she said – its been fed so its not hungry”. I picked up the tiny bundle and placed her comfortably on my chest / shoulder area and held her tight, rubbing her back as I rocked her. Pretty soon out popped a huge burp. Mom turned around and sheepishly came toward us and apologised.
Oh, don’t worry I said, I know exactly how you feel. No one to help you, you’re at the end of your rope and feel like a floor rag, no doubt you’ve been up half the night, right? She nodded tearfully. No wonder you want a nice dress to perk you up. Lack of sleep makes the best of us ratty and impatient. Our nerves don’t connect and the whole body is out of whack.
Try find someone to help you sometimes I suggested, you need some – me time – to recharge the battery. Don’t be afraid to ask, sometimes people think you’ve got it all under control, and don’t like to ‘interfere’. Forget pride, baby’s life is at stake. You are all she knows and wants, she can’t talk, so how else is she going to let you know she’s in pain, they don’t usually cry for nothing.
I know it’s hard losing your independence, but having babies is when we come second – to everything. Our needs don’t count anymore, especially if you’re on your own. And, the shock horror truth of it all, is, that, that’s the deal for the next 18 years at least. It’s important to just love her and keep the lines open between you, that way she’ll know you’ll always be there for her. She was most grateful and hugged her baby tight.
When you come to faith in Jesus, acknowledge and repent of your sins, know he died for you and rose again, he lives in you, you become a new person. You’re born of his Spirit who leads you to help others, wherever you are. No matter the situation, you’ll just have wisdom and strength to be there. Bearing fruit for Jesus glorifies God.
I used to think I had to know how to speak to people about the bible, I knew I couldn’t be like pastors who know what to say. And especially with fears of being stupid always plaguing my mind, but compassion always won. So I just did what came naturally.
Where does that word come from even? A magic charm or spell, power or influence. Probably Africa origin – witchcraft. Oxford English Dictionary.
No way! God created me in his image before the world began. He didn’t leave me to roam around in darkness unaided. Even if I didn’t know it, he was always in charge. When I believed his word, his Holy Spirit guides me. Because he loves me, and protects me from evil forces that do not love at all, but destroy and deceive for their purposes.
John 15:4 ..abide in me and I in you. Apart from me you can do nothing..
Whatever was going on in my life – the circumstances, the upsetting issues, the hardships, the loneliness, the aches and many pains, were all conforming me to his image. I’m to therefore submit and grow with and through it all.
Isaiah 48:17 I am the Lord your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
When lockdown first happened in February/March 2020 – a back tooth in the upper jaw – broke off and part of the filing with it. Whatever remained felt like blades. Just then all 70+s was deemed vulnerable and had to stay put.
No dental help was forthcoming. As the months dragged on, it chipped away. I probably swallowed most of it!
God blessed me with a new flat within 6 months of my requesting a transfer due to neighbour noise.
So, February 2021 I moved into a tiny little flat with the view of green trees out of all my windows from the first floor. At first, I resisted as didn’t know the area and was afraid that I knew no one.
But what a change from the blaring radios from parked cars outside my window, loud horrible voices on mobile phones, blokes punching each other and falling through the fence, and of course noisy traffic. I had no friends in the building and also no church friends nearby.
God knows I love trees and birds and little creatures, so that’s what I gaze at every day now. Foxes playing together, lots of birds, a family of magpies growing up, blue tits dashing about, parakeets with their beautiful green feathers, lots of crows, a blue crane appeared once, a woodpecker tapping away at a tree stump, tiny robins I love. Plenty of squirrels and fat pigeons nibbling at everything on the trees. And wonderful neighbours who gave me greeting cards when I first moved in. Even the manager of the building gave me a ‘New Home’ card. Little ladies popped by my door to say hello – masks and all. A Christian lady loaned me her ladder to reach the high cupboards in the kitchen. So many lovely changes – I was in awe. God knows best.
It all helped me settle, despite the lack of cupboards in the bedroom and bathroom. And my having to part with a few pieces of furniture because there was no space, and many huge bags of clothes and bric-a-brac. All went to charity who were delighted with everything.
My tooth, after a whole year had finally parted company with the filling that was left and the pain kicked in. I stuck half a pain killer in the hole often. The soonest date I could get to see a dentist was the end of April. Bearing in mind I was a new patient in the area so no rush there. I wasn’t a priority.
A week after I moved in, I had a colonoscopy at St Georges hospital in Tooting. A massive hospital with plenty of restrictions. I was tested of course and had had my first jab. Prep for the op was done at home – thankfully – 24 hours in the loo. My daughter fetched and carried and brought me home. All was well, wonderful medical staff all round. Of course, I had to sign on with new doctors in the area.
Before my dental appointment I let him know how painful it was and suspected infection. He prescribed antibiotics which helped a bit but I needed a second batch to do the job.
The tooth came out with great difficulty – ouch – lovely dentist, so I trusted him. Two injections helped. I was numb right to the throat. It had a long root which entailed a lot of tugging. He asked the nurse for a blade. What? The tooth had merged with the jaw bone. He sent me home with a script for painkillers advising me to keep on top of the pain, also giving me cotton plugs for the bleeding.
At home the injection wore off and the bleeding started – blimey – he also said no rinsing at all – nothing in the mouth for 24 hours.
My new Christian friend offered to buy me some smoothies – I couldn’t put a teaspoon of yogurt in my mouth even, my jaw was so tight. Thankfully I had straws – what a life saver! Isn’t God good.
I lay on my bed after handling the bleeding, worrying whether I’d get blood on my lovely new single bed and linen my ex paid for and my daughter bought on his behalf.
Funny what one thinks of.
I lay on my bed crying – regretting not opting for hospitalization.
I was saying sorry to Jesus – I can’t do this. You hung on the cross bleeding for hours, every bone in your body in agony and your skin and muscles stripped away with cruel whips embedded with bits of bone and metal to rip it open. Holes in your hands and feet – not forgetting the spitting in your beautiful face, and the depraved cries of wicked, jealous, vile people, whom you came to save… and I can’t even handle a toothache!
Please help me I don’t know what to do Lord it’s so sore.
Then I felt my jaw move and I heard the sound of bones creaking, like knitting together – and sudden pain for a second, I was scared at first – then nothing – no pain – then peace surrounded me as I lay there quietly.
Jesus still loved me and was with me …I didn’t mind who didn’t love me or want me, as long as Jesus loved me.
It took a while to return to normal but I could handle it as I waited. This pic, weeks after the extraction, looks weird but not at all painful. You should have seen me with half my face, double in size with various colours of bruising! It looked like I’d been in a punch up. At least my face returned to normal size! I was grateful for masks if anyone came to my door!
Shadowlands – where the sun doesn’t shine – C S Lewis
It all produced a blank canvas for God to write on…Hallelujah!
Times when I was useful came to mind…
Remember how the whole world could not produce face masks, suitable to protect medical staff in quick time!
I was grinding my teeth in annoyance…
I felt like they needed someone like me who could buy products for the giant cosmetic house I worked for in South Africa. A leading, prestigious, fussy, particular about everything, American company. If Quality Control did not approve a product – it was rejected. Marketing people went nuts for lost sales – but QC was priority.
They loved me because when I ordered something, I chased, hounded, took no excuse, until the product landed on our floor.
I learned to scrutinize everything before seeking approval, proof read every word twice before submitting to marketing, who together with the CEO and directors, came to trust me.
I monitored right down to the time they would deliver.
Marketing had less loss of sales due to the ‘out of stock’ report I monitored daily.
Why couldn’t governments obtain life saving masks on time?
At least it got my writing juices flowing – on paper though, not up for blogging
The gloominess of lockdown actually helped me.
God cleared out my mind and showed me things which lifted me out of my despair. But I was slow in recovery.
I needn’t be scared to be me anymore – I’m okay…
A walk in the park – had a whole new meaning. That’s all I could do sometimes.
I needn’t climb the walls or talk to the wall like Shirley Valentine anymore.
God was always with me, guiding, teaching, cleansing, whatever it took, and bringing things to mind to encourage again…
Long ago in South Africa – Cape Town actually. I got off the bus and turned to walk away, when I saw a ‘homeless looking’ dark man – not young – grab the rail to climb the ridiculously high steps, the single decker busses have. But the bus driver pulled off!
I stood horrified – for a moment – then ran after the speeding bus, that carried the man hanging on the outside for his life.
Wearing a cream coloured Trench coat, which flared out behind me, as I ran along the road screaming to the bus driver; was quite the apparition to behold.
The man dropped to the ground – cars and people stopped and stared.
I ran up to him and lifted his bleeding head and face – rummaged for a tissue to wipe him – naturally he was stunned and hurt. I tried to lift him but failed – then a young white girl came up to help me – but the two of us could not lift this big man who was a ‘dead weight’ really …
“Oh Jesus please help us Lord”! I cried – then in a flash the man was standing on his feet – even before I stood up.
The dark skinned driver stopped the bus by this time and walked back to the scene.
I’m sorry he said – we’re not allowed to let them on the bus.
Don’t worry about that now I said and gave him money to take the gentleman as near as possible to his destination. And off they went.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Praise Jesus my Saviour.
If you know Jesus – call on Him to help you help others, and be his hands and feet.
I’ve often wondered about my dad I never knew, over the years. Then later on coming to UK and watching all the Remembrance Day commemorations on the telly, I wondered what it was like for him during World War Two.
Did he and all the others think of their death at all. Did they cry out to God in their moments of despair and fear, did pain and suffering cause them to search their hearts for help from Him?
Some months ago during lockdown I read an article in a U3A magazine, by a woman who’d found a letter from a family member who’d been in the war as well and who’d visited a place called Talbot House in Poperinge, Belgium. A Chaplain had created a small chapel in the attic, where thousands of soldiers attended services, were baptised and took communion. After the Great War. It was no doubt a peaceful refuge for many.
I was greatly encouraged to have read about it. Perhaps there were many other retreats all over the world, for soldiers to have come to faith in their last hours, or in their hour of need. Faith comes by hearing, and its comforting to know there were those who were available to speak to them about Christ, and the joy of eternity with Him.
My father did come back but wasn’t taken care of. I wrote a little article for a local paper one Remembrance week-end – several years ago now:
Have we remembered them?
We have eyes like cameras that capture images and send them to our brain from the moment we open them in the morning; how precious they are and needful of protection. The bible warns us of not letting our eyes look at futile things. Yet our lives are bombarded with unwholesome things, bad news and things we might not choose to see and hear, perhaps too late to filter out the good from the bad as it’s in your face.
I can’t look at anything violent and then go to sleep.
What fortitude was shown by those who fought in the world wars, the horrific acts thrust on them daily went on for years. I can only speak of what I know. My grandfather, uncles and my father – lived broken lives thereafter. Dad lost his parents within six weeks of each other before he went to fight for the commonwealth. He never smoked nor drank then – but sadly ended up addicted to both for most of his shortened life. His marriage fell apart too as Mom – I suspect like the rest of the world was unprepared for dealing with wounded souls. That’s just one family.
I never fought in any physical war but looking back over my life; un-dealt with battles of Daddy’s mind fought on.
Abnormal use of drugs, alcohol, nicotine, various cravings; is all abuse – and it’s still raking in billions for the industries because people used it to forget – whilst their countries failed to remember them.
Jesus took on every pain and heartache known to man and nailed it…..to the cross, and rose victorious above it all.
We can honour them every day by reaching out to all who are still suffering the spoils of war.
Sometimes its tough motivating yourself to get up and go and feel positive when all around you seems to be crumbling, and your plans seem insurmountable, they don’t really work out as you’d hoped.
Praying and asking our Father to forgive our doubts and weaknesses can sometimes result in amazing turnarounds.
He reminded me of a time when my daughter took me to Venice a couple of years ago in non stop rain all the way from Heathrow. As we were nearing Venice, the captain announced that we were due to land soon, but unfortunately, they’ve asked him to divert as visibility is nil with all the rain. He also said, that we only had 20 minutes left of fuel and its not possible to divert!
Whooa that’s not good! I said to my daughter common lets pray. We asked our heavenly Father to save the Captain and all of us on the plane and make a way for us to land safely in Venice. We need your help right now and trust in your almighty power to save us.
The Captain suddenly announced to fasten seat belts we’re landing!
Taxiing to the airport buildings, he came over the speaker and apologised for the hasty change – but “there was a sudden 10 minute window of clouds parting and 4 planes landed – then closed up again”.
Matthew 8:25-26 And they came to Him and woke Him saying save us Lord we are perishing! He said to them, why are you afraid, you men of little faith? Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.
O my Lord you are mighty. You are supreme and sovereign. Forgive me for allowing worldly things and unkind words and behaviours to knock my faith about, when all the while dear Jesus, You are near and in charge.
Praise You almighty God, my Saviour. Hallelujah! Who is there like you.
Many years ago I hung over the side of a beautiful balloon, feeling the wonder – the beauty -the warmth – the silence wrap around me and lift me up – what release.
I was on my lunch break from caring for someone, but my mind was full of anguish once again, going over the bossy, bullying attitude of others I had to work with. The constant lauding it over me and taking advantage of my silence.
The fabulous balloon I was on, was tethered unfortunately, so I wasn’t able to experience the dizzy heights I longed for, and instead felt bound.
I felt like the balloon, as I gazed across the beautiful scenery, tethered to guilt and shame, instead of focusing on the scriptures. 2 Corinthians 5:17 If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old things passed away and new things have come.
Satan likes to remind us of our past mess ups. Satan means accuser – don’t believe his lies. Quote God’s word whenever the trials come.
Gosh how true it is to be away from hearing the word of God, and from Christian brothers and sisters who can admonish us, and fill us up when we’re running on empty.
We can be free and weightless and soar like an eagle, when we hold His truths in our heart. Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings. Psalm 17:8
When Jesus went ashore, he saw a large crowd and he felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
I could relate. I’d been a Christian a dozen years or so and now living in UK. I was employed by a Care Agency back in Cape Town and journeying by train to the north to meet them for training.
London transport was terrifying. I had no idea there’d be so many stairs up and down all over the place. All my worldly goods were in the one suitcase I was lugging about in that rabbit warren.
People warned me to stand at the bus stop to board, otherwise they wouldn’t stop. There were so many buses shunting along I was confused. And busy London – they’re impatient. I waited obediently and waved to my bus pulling away – he hollered $%”£*?% vile language calling me a lazy something and pulled off. I was far sighted so wasn’t wearing my specs, I asked the time at the train ticket office, he yelled ‘avnt yer gotta watch?!
Wow the land of hope and glory – where were those from ‘Songs of Praise’ I’d seen on the telly – ‘twas more like ‘The Weakest Link’ – where ripping people apart with words flowed naturally.
No wonder my ex was – well like he was – if that’s all he learnt growing up. Poor kid.
The train ride though, was definitely England’s green and pleasant land. I loved it, and the fields with animals and ducks and swans on lakes – it was magical. I smiled when I saw horses with funny blankets on, and wondered if my horse Nevada, would have liked a blanket – nah – he would’ve yanked it right off and stomped all over it, such a naughty boy. I’m sure he thought he was a puppy – followed me everywhere. Right into our stable doored kitchen one day – stable doors are horsey doors after all. Funny how the mind travels. Another lifetime.
I loved my granny, she died when I was ten years old so I felt sure I’d be fine with caring for the elderly in their own homes. I had great respect for older folk and was looking forward to learning from them and finding out about my new adopted country.
We were told in training that all clients are different and some may enjoy companionship, whilst others, well, just do your job and stay out of sight. Most people were polite and courteous but definitely suspicious. It’s only natural I thought, having strangers in the house, besides, the silver and all that. Quite a scary undertaking especially when their health was failing. Heart-breaking actually.
The most important lesson I learned was understanding how black people felt in South Africa.
Living in – did mean being available – obviously. I didn’t mind. I wanted to make life easier and peaceful. But there was one who called for hot chocolate at 3am every night/morning. And most mornings it was still there – cold. I was often shouted at and treated like a slave, until one night I cried to the Lord for answers. I heard a clear voice in my mind – “How long are you going to put up with it?”
That was a good lesson for me. I had to stop being a doormat. I was in a new country and I was afraid. And my server nature led easily to abuse. When I told her the next morning to stop barking at me because I was there to help her, she treated me kindly thereafter.
Most of the Carer’s were from abroad, the agency said the Brits wouldn’t do it. But the one I handed over to, after me that morning, was British, and on my way home on the train, she phoned me begging me to come back as she refused to tolerate her. It helped me understand that it wasn’t me.
I scrubbed and cleaned to make sure my clients were hygienically safe as well. One very wealthy fussy lady was so impressed with my cleanliness she reduced the days her cleaner came! I had a lot to learn.
Quite a few arranged big meals and had guests round or afternoon teas and expected me to cook and wait on them. Even carry garden furniture around and lift wheel chairs into car boots. Some even begrudged my food which was part of the package.
I really did learn part of what it felt like to be treated like a slave like the blacks in South Africa.
I prayed for forgiveness all over again, and prayed often that all whites, in South Africa especially, would come to know Jesus as their Lord, so that they could understand the bible, no one can understand the bible without the indwelling of the Holy Spirt. It is Spiritually discerned. Then they would learn that all people are the same. The colour of one’s skin does not make a person any less or lower in life.
All people are born with sinful, blackened hearts, we desperately need Jesus to make us pure and white as snow in our hearts, by being born of His Spirit and to live righteously for Gods glory.
So, it’s not the colour of our skin but the colour or our hearts, that the world sees, in the way we treat others.
The Golden Rule – Jesus said in Matthew 7:12. In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you.
Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
The staggering loss of lives is terrifying and tragic
Alone – contactless – no last goodbyes – no prayers – no funerals
The panic connected us again
And levelled the playing field
God in his mercy, gave us time to think. Some of us have been living like there’s no tomorrow, no thought or value for their lives (nor anyone else’s) at all – as seen in their behaviour around the world.
Thank God for the selfless ones who care.
God made us all equal you know – like it or not
God created Adam and Eve and their disobedience put the lot of us on the road to hell. But God so loved the world that he gave us Jesus who came down to earth to show us the way back to God through him. He died on the cross in our place for our sins to save us from death and rose again defeating satan forever.
He levelled the playing field – all who believe in Him can be reconciled back to God and be saved.
How did you do in lockdown?
In the beginning I thought I was okay. I was new to a church and didn’t have friends yet. At Easter the pastor and his wife kindly blessed me with flowers.
Gosh I missed my daughter terribly – we’ve always been so close, very lovey dovey – affectionately touchy feely…South Africans I think are, many people here told me that. I know its different here in UK – a sign of weakness to show your feelings some said. Stiff upper lip and all that. Traditions – tough nut to crack – it makes fellowship quite strained. That didn’t half make me depressed though. No real contact – no sense of sharing.
As the months dragged on, I thought I was going nuts.
Some days I felt as though I’d been through the wringer – flat – dead – bereft.
My doctors were wonderfully kind over the phone. I phoned them the first few weeks to see if they were okay, and to tell them I was praying for them. They stuck it out. God bless them. My digestive/health issues kicked off as well – eating disorders when I was younger. Nerves, sciatica, they all played up again.
I put myself on – The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast – by Kristen Feola – 21 days. I’ve a history of comfort eating so that was extremely tough, but lockdown came at a time when I was just beginning to pluck up courage to start blogging and needed help and support. Now I was thrown off kilter and lost at sea. But I trusted God to show me the way and help me sort out / lay down all that was hindering me. I also switched the telly off.
I know God loves me…so what if I’m different…that’s the way he made me and there’s no no need to explain my existence. I slowly came out of my shell…with a little time…
I love flowers and arranging them, when we could go back to the shops, I bought some for my flat, I don’t have a garden, so it’s a treat for me to sit and admire Gods beautiful creations. I try and extend their lifespan for as long as possible; trimming down and changing vases – until I just have to throw them out. I’m saddened too sometimes when I find one or two buds broken off from careless handling by the time I buy them.
But even the broken ones deserve a place, so I find a tiny container to pop them in.
Sometimes in life we too are cut short by some unfortunate happening or interruption, and we feel robbed of an opportunity to express ourselves, only to withdraw and slip back under our shell – like a tortoise.
Lord, thank you that you teach us to forgive everyone like you did. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” you said as you hung on the cross. And instead of rebuke, we pray for those who perhaps don’t yet understand. You remind us that we were once like that too, before you came into our hearts through belief and gave us understanding. You tend and care until we’re able to give you glory as you intended.