Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Remembering my blessings.

Life is so full of contradiction at the moment, on the one hand I feel more blessed than I have ever felt on the other all around me seems to be falling apart and I cannot work out where God wants me to be.  Both my grandmother and my niece are now in hospital suffering with mental illness, my mother is being held together by my father whose heavy heart sounds so drained.

Why can't they accept you Lord????????????

I keep having a picture of myself as the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz, where she has had water thrown over her and is saying while disappearing "I'm melting". I am praying through this that maybe the ME in me might be getting less and HIM in me might be getting more.

No matter what I shall continue to count my blessings with the gratitude community.

570. Attending the wedding of an old friend who has been hurt and rejected but accepted again.
571. Spending time with more old friends, especially when their 17 year old son decides to stay in and play too.
572. A night away with my husband, I love him so dearly.
573. A playful puppy dog who is able to persuade me to get up.
574. The children born from me, playing with the wooden train set, turning back the years.
575. Deliveries of craft material for another exciting activity day I've organised for work.
576. The lives shared by many fellow bloggers, that encourage me daily.
577. My youngest with flowers in her hair.
578. Strawberries getting fatter in the garden.
579. The promise that there will be no more tears and no more mourning.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:3-4

Friday, 27 May 2011


It has been yet another difficult week, it seems that just when we think things can't get worse they do.  My niece for whom we kinship care has now been admitted to a high dependency unit at an adolescent mental health unit.  The feelings of failure continue to dog me even though I know that we have done all that we have been capable of in the circumstances.  A couple of days ago I talked with the staff and we have our first big multi-disciplinary meeting next Wednesday to discuss ways forward for us and her.  We really are not sure whether we are going to be able to meet her needs by having her back with us.  Knowing that this meeting is now set has unnerved me again after starting to accept this fact.

After yet another 3 hour sleep this afternoon before my other two children came in from school I was feeling quite despondent and sorry for myself and posted this tweet:

"flossyadam is sick and tired of feeling mopey and sleepy, need some motivational thoughts to get me going again!"

Within moments this tweet came up from Compassion UK, not directed to me personally but golly it has made me sit up:

"For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. Psalm 37:28"

The reason it made me sit up was because for a couple of weeks a small group of people from church have been praying for us. They had a picture which they shared first for my husband and then with me last Sunday, the picture was of a pair of scales, not the sort that tell you your weight (I see that picture every time I pass a mirror) but scales of justice.  That is what we want in the situation we are in justice for all of us, our children, my niece and ourselves.  It is going to be a long journey and I know there will be no quick fixes but I will keep my eyes fixed on God and call for his justice to reign supremely in our lives.

I thought I would just share the rest of the Psalm with you as it is just so utterly brilliant!

Psalm 37 - Of David.

1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the LORD
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.

16 Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous.

18 The blameless spend their days under the LORD’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

20 But the wicked will perish:
Though the LORD’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.

21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;
22 those the LORD blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be destroyed.

23 The LORD makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.[b]

27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the LORD loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.

Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed;
the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.

30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
their feet do not slip.

32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
intent on putting them to death;
33 but the LORD will not leave them in the power of the wicked
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.

34 Hope in the LORD
and keep his way.
when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.

35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
though I looked for him, he could not be found.

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
a future awaits those who seek peace.[d]
38 But all sinners will be destroyed;
there will be no future[e] for the wicked.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

Monday, 23 May 2011

I will be Grateful.

I am re-reading Henri Nouwens book 'The Return of the Prodigal Son' at the moment after my laments of the other day.  I have not finished it yet but what I have most got out of it so far are his reflections on the older son.  Seeing him as 'lost' in possibly a far more pernicious way that the younger son who returns to his father.  He ruminates on how the older sons attitude is very much like that of the pharisees, being indignant and resentful towards his father for the way he so generously welcomes back his younger son.  He poses the question 'what is easier to overcome and repent of, lust or resentment and bitterness? Erring on the side of believing the later is far harder.  On exploring this further he considers that one of the ways that we can can try and make ourselves open to being found by God when we know we are full of resentment and bitterness is to practice being grateful.  Giving thanks for what is happening around us because we know that we should be thankful rather than because we feel particularly thankful.

Stress levels remain unbearable in our home at the moment, but following what I have been reading I am determined that I will still be grateful.

560. Witnessing my husband relishing and flourishing in his new leadership role in our church.
561. The promises in the bible that God will be  in everything I do.
562. My daughters fascination with her new word of the week 'constipation' how she makes me smile.
563. Watching and listening to my son play his trombone in the Boys Brigade Band during a service on Sunday.
564. Sleep.
565. Great writers like Henri Nouwen whose book 'The Return of the Prodigal Son' I am revisiting.
566. The opportunity to do some gardening.
567. Listening to the baby owls calling to their mum and each other in the dusky evening in the woods behind our house.
568. A friend who is happy to let me come round at a moments notice and remove a 'tick' from my puppy dog.
569. More sleep.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Another Poem/Psalm - Pain.

My chest is tight
breathing is such effort,
My heart has burst
I no longer feel its beat.
Starving my mind of all that it needs.

My tears come in bursts
none for days and then not stopping.
My spirit is heaving
moving like water in the ocean
Encouraged then discouraged by all that passes.

Moments of peace do come
that 'peace that passes all understanding'
I have to wait for them
patiently, patiently, patiently wait.
My breath will come, my heart will beat,
my tears will dry and one day my spirit will soar.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

How did the father of the Prodigal Son let him go?

The story of the Prodigal son has been on my mind a lot.  It seems on so many levels to resonate with the situation that we are in at the moment.    I googled the question in the title this morning, as I ponder what the next few weeks has in store for us with our niece.  I found this sermon.  I thought it a jolly good sermon and can agree with most of what is said.  It still leaves me feeling though HOW did he do it?  Did he have family conferences and try and persuade him to stay?  Did he warn him of the potential pitfalls that he might be heading for?  Did he get friends and family to try and persuade him that he really was not making the wisest choice? or did he just let him go?

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, 12 May 2011

When your best just isn't enough.

For the last 2 years of our kinship caring journey we have often said to folks that we often feel like we live an hour at a time not knowing what will come next.  The looks you get from this vary, but I understand it is a way of living that not a lot of people have to live with.

An hour after I wrote my last blog a week last Tuesday, everything turned upside down for us all yet again.  It wasn't anything spectacular that turned everything upside down, however it was obviously for me the last straw.  My reaction to what was really a quite minor spat with my 14 year old niece caused a sequence of evidence that has ended up with her staying with friends, being admitted to hospital and hopefully to emergency respite foster carers tomorrow.

I feel so cross and confused with myself that I kept soldiering on, thinking (or maybe pretending) I was coping, when it turns out I so obviously was not.  What I suppose it all boils down to is having to admit that my best efforts to care for a very damaged 14 year old have just not been good enough. 

It is strange that now everything is out of my hands (and control), I am finding it so much easier to pray for the whole situation.  It is reassuring to know that I can trust God far more than I can trust myself or any of the professionals around me.  Now I just have to hold onto that trust and belief that God can work all things for my dear nieces good. 

If you are reading this and you pray, please hold us all in your prayers.  My two biological kids are being great despite their tender ages, my dear husband is very worn out as he has had to do all the meetings and phone calls that my actions caused as well as working full time.  We are praising God for the amazing friends that he has surrounded us with, some of whom have been called on to do far more than you generally expect of friends.  I am hoping that I am finally learning to be more honest about my limits and will keep having the strength (of mind) to ensure that nobody or nothing stretches me too far again.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Dangerous Words.

Have you ever had something said to you or misunderstood what is being said to you which has then caused you damage?

A few weeks ago when we were going through a rather bad patch in our kinship caring journey.  You can read more about that here or if you want to know more about what kinship caring is and how I qualify to discuss it by clicking on the kinship caring label on the right hand side of this blog.  This bad patch rustled all the children's services into action (again) appearing to offer us all sorts of help.  However we are not poorly informed and did have a fairly good idea that there were not really any options open to us that we felt we could use.

It was during a these discussion with a mental health professional when I was told that my nieces ONLY hope was for us to continue to battle through her difficulties with her.  The only other option was for her to go into care (which is why we took her in, in the first place - no change there then).

At the time I felt I was only being told what my husband and I already knew.  However what I didn't realise was just how HEAVY that word was and how debilitating it was for me to try and carry it.  It was not until some amazing pastoral workers recognised this and prayed through this with me that I realised just how heavy a burden had been placed on me.  I actually felt the weight lift off my shoulders.  I was suddenly thinking, why am I sitting so slouched, it was of course because the weight was physically pushing me down and I could not feel this until it was taken away. 

The truth of the matter is that, yes we are probably her BEST hope in this physical world to nurture and try and help her grow into an adult.  However we have FAITH and we know that HE is her ONLY hope - no human can take that on.  It surprises me that though these children's services professionals know very well that we have a strong Christian faith, but not once have they in any way checked with us that we are being spiritually supported.  When I trained to be an occupational therapist, it was already widely accepted that our well-being is dependant on our emotional, physical and spiritual health and yet not once has our spiritual needs been checked.  Thank God for the good spiritual people who have been happy to journey with us and their wise counsel and no wonder so many child placements fall down when unacceptable burdens are (hopefully unknowingly) placed on them.

Life remains turbulent here, and we are finding new ways to try and cope with this, taking every hour as it comes is a good place to start. 

Monday, 2 May 2011


I have been counting my blessings for a long time now with Ann Voskamp and the gratitude community that she has developed.  It just so happens that she does this on Monday and then today a very nice young man (who does not want to be named but you can find out who by clicking here) has suggested a new tag for Mondays on Twitter.  Prompted by news on terrorists on this beautiful Monday morning he has suggested that we use our Mondays to ENCOURAGE those around us (either in body or through the airwaves).  Being thankful and encouraging are such an  important part of any Christian disciple and I am so pleased to be encouraged to do these things by amazing cyber friends.  When we repeat things over and over regularly (as with most liturgy) it is possible to make them a part of our being and I shall certainly try and keep #loveMonday going on Twitter along with continuing to count by innumerable blessings with the blogging community.

550. My garden blooming by itself with no interference from me.
551. Enjoying watching The royal wedding with my daughter on Friday - special times.
552. Relief from a bad migraine with advice down the phone so that I did not have to move.
553. Freshly mown grass.
554. Listening to my children practising the musical instruments.
555. Breakfast dishes piled on the draining board, full tummys in this house.
556. Getting the envelope my youngest and I have been waiting for so that we can write to our new Compassion child.
557. Watching and listening to my 2 1/2 year old Godson visiting the Hovercraft museum with us - so funny how it made his mouth all screw up trying to say it.
558. That feeling of excitement in my tummy when I think of all the good stuff I have got to get on with when work resumes more normality tomorrow morning.
559. My husband, who has to stand by and just watch when my body suffers, who will probably never understand just how much that gentle stroke on my arm means.