Friday, 22 March 2013

One step at a time

Last night, for whatever reason, I woke after a short sleep. As it sometimes happens I was wide awake. Not wanting to wake or disturb my husband, who slept merrily on, I put on some warm woollies and made a mug of hot milk and settled on the couch with a  lovely cuddly rug. And there I was- somewhere around 2am with time for myself to do whatever was of my chosing.

And I chose a book. Not just any book, but a book written by Marja Meijers. Marja has written 5 books with as subject -  The ten commandments. Her approach isn't  - DON'T do this or that, but what one CAN do. I have had this book for some time but seeing the unsettled nature of the past few months I couldn't concentrate. Now I had the space and time to acquaint myself with it's contents.

This particular book, My neighbours house, handles the 10th commandment - "keep your hands of other people's things and don't be jealous of what others have or do"- the contents in plain language and in a nutshell. Marja's other books are also in English and available online for purchase ( in case you were wondering).

At the end of each chapter - as in the other books, Marja gives time for reflection. She suggests things to think about, write and soul search about. So here I was in the wee hours asking myself "have I ever been envious, jealous, covetting what others had?" No way! No, I am not envious of the car next door, of the renovated home friends recently had done, of the high caliber restaurants friends visit as this is their hobby, of the frequent 'warm' holidays planned and executed by acquaintances each year. No me. I wasn't brought up to be like that! Never..... who is kidding who. I am sure we all at some time or another have a  quiet 'I wish that I too...' moment.

Due to my falling eyelids I put the book down and closed my eyes. I could think with them closed. And think I did. My thoughts went to all the things I was grateful for. My children and grandchildren, my relationship, my health, the ability to be able to help others, the chance I have of becoming self supportive with my own small business, the opportunity to share what talents I have with those seeking help. With the possiblity for growth and conquering failings and weaknesses.

More and more frequently I hear people say "in the past ( back then?) life was simpler, we had more time, less distractions, things were better". Imagine that the world stood still, that nothing changed. That we had no possibility to grow and develop our talents. Pretend we still cooked on a wood stove,  not that that is so bad but you get my drift.

In the past ( whenever that was) people struggled with jealously, discontent and envy. And then too, there were people like Marja Meijers who wrote books, shared thoughts and helped us see the light. I am glad I live TODAY, in this world with all it has to offer. I accept the challenges that today brings. I am thankfull for books like those from Marja, to have those words encourage me on my journey.
One step at a time

This evening when I snuggle down on the couch I will pick up the book again and read on keen to see what I am going to be challenged with next. I know I am pleased my neighbours have a safe and sound car to travel in, that the newly decorated house turned out to be all it meant to be. I am keen to hear the stories from the diners and their amazing meals, and, when autumn comes round again, my husband and I are off to a warmer place, paying a visit to the children. Just thinking about that prospect warms my heart.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Surrounded by believers

Since returning home to the Netherlands I have ' gathered'  new friendships around me. Some friends accepted me into their circles because of my relationship with Leen, others I met along the way during my journey these past almost 13 years.

When I first arrived I felt very much at home in the daily routines but couldn't find my feet as far as connecting with the church. I did 'enrole'  in the church in my neighbourhood but never received as much as a visit or notification let alone a welcome. During my few visits to attend church I felt very much a stranger  - not even a visitor - and that felt oh so lonely. Something I already was physically and now also spiritually. My life in New Zealand was certainly church and prayerful oriented - connected to a community of like minded and supportive people. Now I felt adrift.

My faith didn't leave me because I couldn't/didn't attend church. It stayed in me, keeping me comfortable and safe. In my lounge I had items for a ' prayer corner'. Small and unobtrusive. It changed within the prayer seasons and was kept interesting.

Over the past years I slowly became surrounded by believers again. I still don't attend a specific church community - but am comfortable with my weekly discussion group and the friendships and learning that have arisen from that.

Why am I writing on this subject? Well recently I read a mail in which someone explained that they ( a couple) had embarked on a pilgrims journey some time ago and "weren't there - yet". Beautiful to read. It made me think of my  faith journey and where I am at.

I have passed many a station without stopping. There were however also plenty of stops on the way- some educative, some emotional, some tough and some so rewarding it gave me hope. I believe that for everyone, this journey of faith takes on different shape and form. Somehow there are those who are continually challenged and others ' appear'  to sail by on quiet waters.

As for me - I am an extremely blessed person, walking my walk taking time to smell the roses. Attempting to be who I am meant to be as shaped by my Creator.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Good morning world

Good morning Garfield

It's taken a while and finally I made it. I am fully awake and aware of all that surrounds me. I don't feel that I have been having a winter nap - winter is one of my favourite seasons. It was just that my head was so filled up with so many things it made me weary. full of sad things, daily things, full of yesterdays and tomorrows that are to come. So I had to clean up my ' attic'. I made a list ( metaphorically speaking) and organised my thoughts. Slowly but surely I began to see the light and be enlightend.

I cannot imagine that there are many people around who don't have any 'baggage'. Doesn't always have to be heavy issues - the experiences don't always have to be earth shattering that one doesn't have some form of scarring or relics. I am pretty sure that even the apostles must have had baggage with them when they were invited to follow Jesus. They were handpicked by Jesus and he knew what was in their past and in their hearts. He knew what they were capable of.

Just as a by the way - even Judas was one of the chosen ones. I am not clear on my thoughts on that subject yet. Jesus knew what Judas was capable of. Yet He still chose him to be a follower. What did He expect or hope for? That Judas WOULDN'T betray Him? Or did He choose Judas because he knew he WOULD? Was it a test? Just like we have choices in life - shall I /shan't I? Anyway, back to my thoughts on waking.....

I too feel I have been chosen as an apostle. To become a follower of Jesus and accompany Him on life's journey. I do however forget that from time to time. Get the feeling I am 'alone' and don't belong anywhere in particular. Then I am at a loss as to what to do when it comes to decision making- that the daily events somehow get the better of me. My energy level at zero and am at a loss how to get through the day or task at hand. I feel adrift. Then praying seems so ' neutral' because I pray ' anyway'. I drift along seemingly without a plan or destination in mind.

The list in my mind has been pretty well sorted. With regained energy now that my battery has been recharged I am confident to forge on. Meet the challenges before me. One of the most valuable things I take from this episode is that - I need to look after that battery. Not to let it get so low. Jump starting too often isn't a good thing. My life holds many opportunities, chances and challenges and I aim to make the most of them. I aim to walk my walk with enthusiasm and commitment.

And most importantly, I don't need to walk alone. That is a comforting thought. I can chat away or walk in silence knowing Jesus walks with me. He knows what I am capable of.

Keen as mustard - really I am! ;-)