Our Family Walking In A Wilderness Season

The past few months have been challenging for our family.

At the beginning of June, we moved out of our home with only a week’s notice. Our landlords were suddenly dealing with life-threatening sickness and a dodgy buyer for their home, and so needed our place back in a hurry. They were so grateful that we were so accommodating, that they bent over backwards to help us, paying for removal services and up to two months worth of storage for pretty much our entire house-worth of stuff. This took a weight off our shoulders, because finding accommodation for a young family of five in a week is one thing, but taking our furniture with us was not an option.

We had offers to stay from two sets of friends, and moved in with just suitcases, highchairs, a changing station and a few toys and dvds. They had generously said that we could stay for up to a month whilst we found somewhere, so despite nothing on the horizon, we were incredibly grateful for the provision.

This all came during a season where things have not been very easy for  P at work, causing a lot of pain and stress for him, and subsequently for us as a whole family.

We have been waiting for a particular breakthrough, which has not yet come, and so tensions have at times run high, and spells of depression have attempted to drag us down. Throughout this whole process – from knowing that it was possible we would need to move out, waiting for breakthrough, to hearing for certain that we only had a week-  we have been praying and waiting on God for some kind of answer.

Admittedly, this was often a case of waiting on God to give us the specific answer we wanted, but we also fervently wanted whatever it was that He has planned for us, and for it to come to pass at the right time and in the right way.
It has been a test of trust and obedience, that neither of us have found easy.

But Jesus didn’t promise that when we chose to follow him, we would have all our circumstances lined up and easy. Rather he promises that he will be with us at every step, never leaving or forsaking us. This is a pretty massive and hope-inducing promise.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

God wasn’t really telling us what we wanted to hear, but neither did he seem to be telling us anything. We were listening, but He seemed to be choosing to remain silent.

The night I heard that we had a week to move out, I felt pretty upset and in went into ’emergency planning mode’.
The next day, I was immensely hormonal and drained, and just kept seeing how big and seemingly insurmountable the task would be. Needless to say, that was not a very peace-filled happy day. Quite the opposite.
But that evening when I went for my walk and prayer time, I ranted at God, and poured out my heart- my fears and frustrations with everything – the lack of change and breakthrough, and how I needed to know what was coming next.
I  felt God impress upon my spirit that no, I did not need to know, but I simply wanted to, but that HE knew what was coming and how things would play out, and that I needed to let go and trust Him.

He also drew my mind to the Israelites at the time of the Exodus, reminding me that they had to have a season in the desert in order to get to the promised land. Whilst God had taken them out of slavery in Egypt, he also had to take Egypt and it’s disfunctional ways and attitudes out of their hearts before they would be ready to take their land, stepping into all that He would give them.
All this resonated with me and I felt so encouraged and graced with trust, that during the whole process of moving out of our beautiful cottage on the Friday and into our friends’, I was full of joy and peace, and immense grattitude at God’s faithfulness and provision.

As is so often the way with God, that once you step out in trust and obedience, THAT is when He brings the provision you need, so the very next day after we moved out, we had a phone call from a close friend telling us that his in-laws were on a canal trip for most of the summer, and that we were invited to house sit, free of charge, from a week Monday until the middle of August.

This turned out to be a BEAUTIFUL family home, with lots of space, a beautiful flow to the downstairs, and a gorgeous big garden with a climbing frame, swings and a slide. It was in the same town we had lately moved out of and which we loved, and because the couple have grandchildren, there were child-locked cupboards, toys and even kid-friendly toilet seats. HOW GENEROUS IS GOD!

We moved in and have had an amazing time there.
With all the challenges brought by what was going on for P,  it has been a place of sanctuary and peace. 

But just when we started to get comfortable, feeling secure in our surroundings, God threw us another curve ball.
This couple had needed to change their plans, and were now going to return home nearly three weeks sooner than we had initially thought.
Which is totally fine, it is their house, and they had been more than generous to us.
But I was a little cross with God about it.

I am not a huge fan of uncertainty and change (I suspect not many of us are), and would have liked something more secure.
However what God has been showing us, time and again, is that HE is our provider, not our friends or our circumstances, not P or even his wage, and that God is the one who  will provide for us and who will mobilise his people. We will not go homeless.

So we moved out on Monday this week, and have had a house sitting holiday, at a friends’ home by the sea, which so far has been lovely.
On Saturday evening we move into our other close friends’ house back ‘home’, part house-sitting, part sharing with them, their two children and dog, for the month of August.
They are also being incredibly generous and accommodating of us and our needs. They have counted the cost and inconvenience of having us, but have decided to go ahead and look after us anyway. This should hopefully be a lot of fun, as we and our kids are all good friends, but it will also pose the natural challenges of merging two households and two (sometimes different) ways of living.

After that, only God knows, and he is not currently sharing.

We are on the council housing list and will have to wait out that process, because despite P’s reasonable wage, we simply cannot afford to live anywhere in the area at market prices. Even looking at small places without an adequate number of rooms, we are still priced out. The area where P works is wealthy and affluent on the whole, so prices for living are sky high, and as I am a full time mum of three aged four and under, (no fee paid for this!) we only have the one wage to live on.

  • God has never let us down yet. So he isn’t about to now.
  • God also never answers a prayer less well than any he has answered previously, so He is hardly likely to do a less good job of supplying our needs.

    And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
    Philippians 4:19


We have been saying that we are a #FamilyOnTour. Sometimes this helps.
My discovery during this season, and really the whole conclusion and point of this blog, is that trusting is hard when you don’t know what is coming next, but that if we did know what was coming – it wouldn’t require trust.

But we do know Who we are trusting in.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
Psalm 84:11

Our God is faithful, kind, loving and generous. His timing is perfect.
If he doesn’t share His plans with us at the point that we ask, it is because He knows we couldn’t handle it and/or wants us to see His goodness as he comes through for us -BEAUTIFULLY – yet again.
We have been learning to find our hope and our home in Him, not in our circumstances, and there is JOY to be had in the process, regardless of how tough things get.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

And the biggest joy of all is knowing His PRESENCE – HE is close to us at all times if we would just learn to look, and lean into it.

I have been switching on my teaching podcasts and worship music more often, learning to steal moments of praise in my kitchen or bedroom, with or without the kids around my ankles. I have even begun to do this more quickly in response to a horrible and depressed day (though admittedly I still have growth to do in this area), rather than wallow in my sadness. And when I have, His Holy Spirit has lifted my head and my heart, swapped my misery for joy, and changed my perspective.

Likewise, we have been lifted up in prayer from so many different directions, that I have discovered a far deeper understanding of what it means to be part of the body of Christ and to be connected to a praying community. This too, has MASSIVELY helped and encouraged us during this season.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Romans 12:15

So I say, despite my uncertainty and trepidation about the future, despite the confusion and unrest this upheaval has caused our children, I will lean in to this process and I look forward to what God brings next. Praying that I finish well.

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.
Phillipians 3:14

Slimming through grace and the not so perfect ‘Bikini Body’.

clothes on likeMy parents in-law visited last weekend which was lovely, and having not seen me in around six months, mentioned that I had lost a lot of weight.
It is probably fair to say that in this time, my body has undergone a few changes. My clothes have definitely been fitting better.
But I haven’t been trying to, more just having an overhaul on my thought life, which has been much needed.
So here’s a little of my journey in case it blesses you.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9


imageIn February, I stopped breastfeeding our youngest after fourteen months, which was a record for me, as the other two stopped of their own accord at 7 and 8 months respectively.
This ended up only happening by God’s grace, as whilst I have massively changed my perpective on extended breastfeeding, I was exhausted and getting quite fed up, yet she was showing no signs of losing interest.

I was in entirely new territory.
While I didn’t want to force her, or trick her into stopping, there were two of us in the arrangement and one of us was heading towards tipping point. But I didn’t know how to without hurting our relationship and the trust between us.
All my efforts of cuddling her in the night rather than feeding her, and offering a bottle during the day, had come to nothing but stress and tears. So in the end I gave it all totally to God. How hard I was finding it. How frustrating. And I asked that He in His grace, would stop it for us both – peacefully – by the end of the week.
I didn’t have that much faith that it would work, but I was willing to choose to hope, and sure enough, without any fanfare, seven days later we were completely done.
All my hard efforts had achieved nothing but misery, but His Grace was sufficient. Funny that.

Re-Thinking Food

About two years ago, my husband P and I spent six weeks following The Plan, a diet who’s tagline is ‘It’s not calories, it’s chemistry’, and who’s general premise is to work out which foods are reactive with your individual body chemistry.
How come some people eat only ‘healthy’ foods in small portions, exercise but still never seem to lose weight, and in addition have a long list of ailments, whereas others eat whatever they like, full fat, meat and ‘unhealthy’ foods and yet remain slim and vital?

Recitas’ reasoning is, that any food which is reactive to your body will cause some form of inflammation eg. headaches, histamine reactions and weight gain.

Inflammation can build up over time, affecting your health, and causing your body to be less efficient at digestion, because it is using up precious energy fighting it.
This made sense as a premise, so we went for it.

The process opened up my eyes to foods which I had previously thought were doing me good, but were actually doing the opposite.

I found that wheat, rye (though not gluten generally, as oats were great), potatoes, beef, corn and possibly tomatoes are not my friends. And pomegranates make my lips tingle and peel!
It eimagexplained why I would have ‘fat days’, where despite eating well, I would be several pounds heavier from one day to another, feeling sluggish with too-tight clothes.
It helped me to tune in to my body better, learning to listen to what it was telling me. And I began to re-evaluate my relationship with food, seeing it not as something pleasant simply to fill me up- but there to actually nourish me. Something so obvious that I had missed it!

I lost a little weight, but found it frustrating as I seemed to be reactive to everything. However P lost a stone in a week and a half and kept it off for ages.

Eating like that didn’t totally last, because the demands of work, small children and a new pregnancy left us too tired to bother to plan meals well, and all I really craved was stodgy bread and shreddies. However over the past two years or so, I have gradually committed to eradicating my ‘bad’  foods from my diet, and now pay better attention to my how my body responds to new things.
I have really felt the benefit, with less bloating and tummy pain, and a little consistent weight loss, tempered with the freedom to throw it out the window on special occasions, knowing that only a day or so of eating better can reset me.


imagePeople have often commented to me that I must be very fit due to running around after our three small children, but for the most part that hasn’t really been true.
Exhaustion from lack of sleep, bouts of depression, winter and the effort it can take to get three children out of the house by myself, meant that I really lacked motivation to do much, so some days were really sedentry.
Things became easier once we moved house, as it was summertime and our location was now so central, we could walk more.

Then, mostly out of curiosity, I bought a Fitbit from Ebay, in a bid to see how much I was actually moving. It has been so useful in encouraging me to recognise my habits and understand why they are as they are. And to make the effort to get out if we have been too still.

P has been freeing me up most days, to go out and walk for about 45mins+ in our local parkland, and I cherish it.
Despite being a very physical person, I have always found jogging a chore. Probably because growing up, it was always associated with needing to lose weight. And understandably, I find the idea of exercising simply for this purpose, utterly soul destroying. I need a positive reason to do something that takes effort, not be focussed by an attitude of lack.

However, I discovered years ago, that when I don’t move or get out much, my mental state plummets.
imageSo although exercise is obviously part of my walks, the main reason I love them is the free headspace and chance to talk to God without the distractions of children, or chores.
These regular rambles have allowed my mood to lift and my creativity to flow much better, and I find that I am more patient with my family.

I also think better on my feet and find that I am better able to process what is going on by talking out loud, without being overheard, so having this  opportunity without being overheard, is such a blessing. I am able to cast my cares better, and lean into his grace for all the day to day stuff.

Re-defining my body image

These past couple of years have taken me on a journey with food- where it comes from (it’s ethics and quality), exercise and health, but the biggest thing which has been slowly changing, is my self image.

I grew up in an immensely loving and encouraging home, told that I could achieve anything I wanted and that shooting for the moon was the best thing I could do. This has stood me in good stead for many aspects of life, but the one area which has never felt so unconditional or freeing has been that of body image. Particularly body weight.

We were all sporty and dancey and so naturally that had a bearing on our shape, but from quite a young age, and definitely in my pre-teens, it became very evident that slim was beautiful and fat was ugly, something confirmed through attitudes at home.
So when at 13 I started earning money, spending much of it on chocolate, and beginning to gain weight alongside the changes of puberty, I became aware that I should be dieting to lose it again. By the time I was 15, I had become well practiced at seeing all that was wrong with my body- maybe not horrendously wrong- but certainly in need of definite ‘tweaking’.
I was aware that I hadbikini body big thighs for a bikini, and had really begun to believe that if I was going to win the love or interest of some boy or other I was keen on, I would need to lose a few pounds by the time ‘the’ party came round where I felt I had my chance.

  I had bought the lie that it really is about how you look, and that beauty really did equal slim.

The funny thing is, that my parents were always very loving, trying never to speak insensitively to us about our body shape, though encouraging of self improvement, but in this area I was getting very mixed messages.

I remember asking for some advice from a sporty family member, about how to tone up my tummy muscles, as I was losing the washboard stomach I had had in childhood and after years of dancing. Instead of the advice I had asked for, I was given the reply “Oh your tummy is fine, it is your bum and thighs which need work.”
This has gone down in our family history as a classic example of tactlessness, and has been forgiven. The point is though, that I thought I had a serious ugly problem in a few areas, and that I would never be totally acceptable, despite my many gifts, until these were fixed.

It is amazing how these words go in deep, and how strongly they inform your sense of selfdieting scales image. I have always been on some sort of diet or been watching my weight. I have also felt guilty at times, for assaulting people’s eyes with my less than perfect beach body and finding myself making apologetic comments. HARDLY an example of a healthy self image!

Praise God for his grace, I have never struggled so much that it has begun to destroy me, and I have had a fairly robust love of food, and awareness that there is more to life than image and specifically weight. But nonetheless, it has always niggled away at me. Robbed me of some of my peace, and definitely made me feel inadequate.

I have started to learn better what food suits and nourishes my body, and I have better understood the link between my physical life and my mental health, and I still love too much sugar. But I have never felt totally empowered to see lasting change. And frankly, I don’t want to spend my life counting calories, and sticking religiously to a rigid diet, all to serve some warped perspective of beauty.

Which brings me to the crux of this piece.
I can’t do it, but Christ in me can.daughter of the king 1

I had a revelation, when reflecting on this, that I need God to change the way I think of and value myself. His is the only opinion that matters.
I need to stop measuring my image through the world’s or my family’s eyes. I need to see myself how my perfect heavenly father sees me.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. -Proverbs 31:25

So I asked, and God has been changing my heart, correcting my vision to see myself through his eyes.
I have said that I would like to lose a little weight, to be fitter for purpose and to fit my clothes better, but that first and foremost I wanted to see myself as I truly am –

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. -Psalm 139:13-14

I asked that I would see and make wise choices with food and drink in the moment.
Any weight loss would be a side effect.

I haven’t been trying to lose weight. I have been trying to love myself better, and see myself in the light of truth.
NOT in the lies told by the enemy to hurt and sabotage my effectiveness in the building of God’s kingdom.
I want to finally shake THESE LIES  which have held me captive for so long, robbing me of joy, making me believe that as I get older and don’t have the same youthful body, that my husband will want to know me less.
This. Isn’t. True.
I am beginning to really believe it.

I have been calling this ‘The Grace Diet’ – I make no effort’, but allow His grace to work proverbs 3131through me. It is working, I enjoy my food, and I am more at peace.
And, incidentally my clothes are definitely roomier.

Gypsy, Dreams and God Moments


‘Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.’
Psalm 37:4 (ESV)

So, it’s that time of year when we were all supposed to make resolutions to be better versions of ourselves, and usually have failed miserably by this point in January. It has become such a standard expectation, that even when we don’t really subscribe to the idea, we still find ourselves having made half promises to be and do better, and then when we fail, brush off the disappointment with a ‘well I don’t really believe in making New Year’s Resolutions anyhow’. So why does it still seem to get under our skin?

I think that we have a God given desire to dream, to realise these dreams, and to speak them into existence. As we commit to voicing them, we in turn, become more open to receiving what we dream of, always supposing that we have surrendered any idea that we can ‘make it happen’.

I don’t know about you, but I am a natural control freak, I like the idea that I am in charge of my destiny and that I am both capable and determined enough, to bend the world around me into the shape I require. Yet experience has taught me that this is not so.

I can no more bend the world into the shape which suits me, any more that I can force someone to love or like me, or stop time. And if I really think about this, I wouldn’t want to. Just as I wouldn’t want to be forced but invited, I can only invite the world to join me on my adventures, only invite someone to know me, trusting that friendship may follow. If it were forced, then it wouldn’t last, and it wouldn’t be true, and at some point everything would come crashing down on me, and I would be left ineptly attempting to rebuild and sustain the wreckage.

However, I can learn to line up my thoughts with the one who does promise to hold me, who draws out the poison and allows my wounds to heal perfectly. The one who calls me to be part of an adventure, one far bigger than myself, for which I have been designed and designated a strategic role to play.

I can invest time, care and love into the relationships with which I have been entrusted.

I can learn to speak life and blessing over my time, my dreams and my relationships, and I can learn to trust – a really hard word which requires so much surrender and comparatively little tangible ‘doing’ – that what is good and best for me, and God’s glory, will come to fruition at exactly the right time, in the right way. This is sometimes SO hard to wait for.Gypsy 1

I went to see Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre in London at the end of November, and it blew me away, something which I find happens all too rarely. I watched Imelda Staunton give a heart-stopping performance as Momma Rose, and found myself wanting to remain there, in that bubble of theatrical magic, for a very long time. I also looked at the role, and felt my heart say “That’s mine, I can do that, in time. I want to do that.” Suffice to say, it has been a very long time since I felt so strongly about a role. Gypsy 2

My heart was moved by the quality of the show and performances, and by the subject matter – the dignity of people, and the desperate cries of mothers and daughters in pain and yearning to be loved, unconditionally. And I once again felt that deep desperation I used to feel all the time, especially pre-drama school, to be who I am called to be and to give life to the huge potential and unstoppable capacity to dream I have inside of me.

I have barely stopped talking about Gypsy since.
I received the sound track for Christmas, and when I missed the live showing, my wonderful husband found it on BBC iplayer and downloaded it for me, so I have had the joy of watching it again several times.

This has been both to re-capture and better understand something of what happened to my heart that night. Because it wasn’t simply the joy of seeing a great piece of theatre and a masterful performance, it wasn’t even the connection with a cry of brokenness that is international and sometimes overwhelming. But it was a God moment. Not the show itself, amazing as it was, but one of those moments when God pulls you up out of sleep, into a full wakefulness, and shows you something of his purpose for your life. When He reveals something deep in your spirit which either you never knew was there, or in this case, had had to allow yourself to let go of.

Like being pulled out of sleep at any time, it is uncomfortable and exciting and surprising all at once. I am feeling more alive, more tender and more emotional. That desperate passion which had been building over the past few months feels as though it has come to a head, and I am not sure what to do with it. I miss acting and working as an actress more than I can express, and yet have willingly laid it down in front of a God who made me that way, knowing and trusting that he will either return it to me better than I could have dreamed, or given me something even better instead.



I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my children, and see the legacy which I am leaving written in and through their lives as WAY more valuable than anything I could achieve on stage or in film. I truly enjoy being a full time mother, and am committed to being a home educator because we are convinced that this is the best way forward for our family. I have never once missed working (or the hope of work), more than I have delighted in and willingly given my heart to spending my days walking alongside three amazing children, and helping them navigate what adventures and purpose they are called to. And I have repeatedly asked God to take away my desire for acting if it is not his purpose for me.

Yet it hasn’t gone. It has periodically reared its head, and now feels more present than ever. I can only assume that I still have acting adventures to come.

But I have no idea of what these are, how they will look, or when they will be. I have no idea how these dreams of acting, marriage, motherhood and home educating will work together, but I know the God who makes the impossible possible, so I am certain that He knows how.

Therefore my plan, if you can call it such, is not to try and bend opportunities and people into the shape I am dreaming of. But instead to hand all of this over to the one who is eternal and therefore knows the best time and way for all of this to occur. HE can shoulder all of the responsibility needed to see these dreams called into being, and I shall ask Him to keep my heart and eyes open to see the moments which need seizing, plus the courage to seize them. I will continue to live and walk in His grace, building my relationships and seeing my family grow. This is the only way I can find peace, so watch this space.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zecharaiah 4:10 (NLT)