In the crucible

My frustration reaches fever pitch,
I’m stuck in a rut, nowhere to turn
doors shut in my face,
I’m out of the race
can’t chase my way back in.

Nothing gets started.
Like and engine in the cold
that gave up the ghost
when the spark didn’t catch.

Yet there is plenty inside me,
bubbling away.

The lid is on the pot, but I’m still hot,
gathering heat,
as my core is refined, purity revealed,
I simmer until the time is right, the secret place unsealed.

There is more. SO MUCH MORE –
as my heart lets out the roar of vision and excitement –

Like a Tardis on the inside,
are my dreams, and deepest longings –
bigger than could be guessed at from without,

Yet my heart is being challenged
to remain, to be at peace,
to trust that things are happening –
that the cogs are being greased

So that when the moment comes
and this lid is lifted free,
what explodes out from my inner world
will be smooth and clear to see.

In this process of refining
He is burning off the dross,
and His faithfulness is evident,
this time is not my loss,

My path will have been levelled,
from the treacherous terrain,
and my progress won’t be hampered by
my brokenness and pain,

And He’ll use me for His glory,
so that many will acclaim
the tenderness of His love,
The greatness of His name.

As we walk this great adventure
and my dreams become reality,
the TRUTH of Him shall set men free
as His love resounds in me.

But, until I can be trusted
not to claim His glory as my own,
I’ll walk out my daily tasks
allowing grace to fill my home,
and these passions held within my heart
continue gaining strength –

for the One who made them
made me,
And at the right time –

will release me.


When you have no idea where you are…

Grief is such a strange beast.
Regardless of how I seem to be doing, it lingers.

Things which are usually enjoyable, seem like an uphill struggle, and disproportionately drain me. Getting out of the house for a walk on my own, feels impossible and I find myself afraid I’ll miss my family too much, to take an hour to myself.

I have been reading though, lots – blogs, novels, poetry.
Over Christmas, I re-read my way through the entire Harry Potter series, in about two weeks, including The Cursed Child. I also read several biographies, and then made my way through Sense and Sensibility (which I had never actually read), and Persuasion (which I had). I have just finished The Penguin Lessons – a memoir by Tom Michell.
It has provided a welcome escape.

I am feeling pretty low and lost at the moment.
I love my family, but for the first time in years, I have no idea what my purpose is. I have nothing to work towards, nothing to look forward to – although in the day to day, I do have a million little things in which to delight.
But I am struggling.

Where there is no vision, the people perish:
but he that keeps the law, happy is he.
Proverbs 29:18

I have moved churches, and whilst this was a good decision for me, and well supported by Husbandman, whilst he and I go to the evening service at my church together, we are no longer worshipping in the same church community.
Because he is responsible for music at his church, he is not free to really be engaged with watching our children if we go there, although he occasionally takes Eldest on her own. I find it too hard with the particular children we have, to manage at church on my own, wherever we go, as the Boy and Mini One want to run around and climb. It really needs two of us, therefore the kids don’t very often attend, meaning our family church experience is dissipated – disconnected.
And I want more. I know there is more.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

I am not working as an actress, either.
I have said before, and I absolutely mean it, that I have never missed acting more than I have cherished and delighted in raising my children and committing to educate them – yet I still miss it dreadfully. I have no project to work towards, nothing that needs my skills, creativity and focus, and I am floundering.

Encouraged by my best friend, I had begun recording my own poems and those that I have previously performed, but, like with my walks, I struggle to take the time – despite it being available to me.
I signed up to a casting website, with a view to taking a few bits of work as they would fit with our family, but didn’t even complete my profile before the 30 day trial expired! They have since offered me a further 30 days free of charge, but I can’t seem to make the effort.

I am lost.

I have always been full of ideas and dreams, of what next and where I want to go. These are still in my heart, but for the first time in years I have no idea what I need to be doing.

I am not currently needed in rehearsals. There is no role for me to have to get my mind and body around.
No one needs me to record my poems, or work on speeches. I have been out of the loop for ages and I have lost my confidence, and the drive required to generate sufficient energy to push through to completion is painfully absent. I find that unless there is a genuine need for my efforts, or the inspiration to pursue something, it is an enormous struggle to motivate myself.

IMG_20170409_144630We are unschooling our three children, so whilst I am needed for a huge variety of things in the day to day of life – to be part of games, to make food, to help them with their ideas – whilst I am needed to drive us places, to encourage them, to answer their many questions, and I am definitely needed for many cuddles and kisses – which I thoroughly enjoy – I don’t have to work towards anything.
My kids are developing beautifully in their individual ways.  I love and delight in their company. They are not my project, they simply share my life and I theirs, and whilst mothering is definitely the hardest job I have ever done, it doesn’t feel like a job  – it just is the privilege of my life and I enjoy its flow.

The only thing that I was looking forward to last year was the arrival of another child into our family.
We were both delighted to welcome another gorgeous blessing into our hearts and lives, regardless of any natural sense of uncertainty and trepidation that comes with expansion, we couldn’t wait. This baby gave us a sense of moving forward, moving towards something.
But sadly she didn’t join us, instead bypassing earth and going straight to heaven.

She is safe, happy, fulfilled.
I am happy for her, and know that I will see her again. Truly.

But I miss her. A lot.IMG_20170406_122702

I feel empty and cheated, especially since I had a good four months of vomiting and exhaustion and general pregnancy woes, all for nothing. And now this week when we should have been in the chaos of birthing another family member, we instead had the ultimate anti-climax of no baby, just grief.
And we are not currently pregnant.
And I want to be. We both do.
Our family is incomplete, and whilst a new baby will not be Hope, I really want another little person to cherish, and to have that focus.
But here is the rub. My kids, my husband and my life are not projects.
I know this, and wouldn’t want to compromise the dignity of any of us by seeing us so.

Yet I am left feeling empty. WHICH HURTS.

A deep emptiness that only God can fill.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

I think that God has brought me to this place, gradually having stripped away all the things I feel that I flourish at.  Bringing me to where I have nothing to rely on but Him.
Don’t misunderstand me, he hasn’t sent bad circumstances my way. He is love. He loves me, but he will use them to bring about my transformation.

Not that I’m enjoying the process.
Actually I feel frustrated, confused and angry with him. But He can handle my anger.
He can actually see the whole of everything, whereas I can only see the equivalent to two feet in front of me.
The problem is my heart. My discontentment, my fear that I am too big for God to ever completely satisfy.  In which case He couldn’t really be God.
Which isn’t true.
But it still hurts badly.

Yet he is here with me.
I know His presence, His voice, and I have learnt to recognise the God whispers that drop into my heart  – He hasn’t abandoned me – I know he is close.

The man that has friends must show himself to be a friend, and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24

This is what dying to yourself must feel like  – anxiety, and the terrifying lack of understanding of how to keep breathing, how to make it right, how to get things back to normal. Knowing that I cannot do it.

Praising Him helps – Husbandman and I have enjoyed some marvellous praise sessions in the kitchen, which has lifted our spirits and brought us moments of peace.

If God has given me my talents and gifts, blessed me with the opportunity to learn and to hone my skills, if He has gifted me with any insight or wisdom – then he will use them for His purposes, not mine.
Crucifying all my hopes and dreams with Him is the only way forward. That and being honest with God about the disappointment and frustration. He will return to me what I have given up for Him.  But if not, I am better off without them.

“Then I will make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you.
“You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; Then My people will never be put to shame.…

Joel 2:25-26

Meanwhile, He carries me.

I have no idea what is coming next.
When or if I will have an acting project to dive into, when we will be blessed with another longed-for child. When this sadness and discontentment will shift.
I don’t know what I need to do. If anything.

My hope is in Jesus. And He will not change.

I still feel lost.
But God hasn’t lost me – and this makes all the difference.

 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