Monday, 1 December 2014


Day 1 of Advent.

Today is the start of Advent, when we look forward to the coming of Christ, the newborn baby who would one day grow up to change the world forever. But whenever there is a time of looking forward, I always seem to find myself thinking back, reflecting on what has gone before. The last few weeks I have spent a long time pondering about all the things that have led to me being here, doing this and being this person.

In particular, I keep thinking about one special little boy that I had to say goodbye to nearly five years ago when he was adopted into his forever family. My feelings about him are always so mixed. I will always look back on the time I got to spend with him with a smile, great fondness, love and affection. But when I see updates on him, pictures of him growing and making achievements and enjoying his new life, I can't seem to shake the dull ache in my stomach and the tears in my eye in the knowledge that he will forget about me long long before I ever will him. The truth is he changed my life much more than I did his.

I guess I must be a pessimist, but all relationships hold that element of knowing that one day, at least one of us will have to say goodbye to the other for good. Whether that be through divorce, death, moving away, illness, etc. There is no relationship on earth in which we know that 'forever' is part of the equation. Humans aren't made for forever. We each hold a few people close to our hearts for a while, but most of my friendships fade when circumstances and distances change. It used to upset me but now I just know it's part of life. People who walk into our lives always have the option to walk out again. But the time you got to spend with them doesn't lose it's significance. It changes who you are, where you go, how you see the world.

As we look forward to Christmas, and the coming of the newborn Son of God, who exists forever, reigns for ever, and loves forever, we must reassess our own interpretation of what our relationship with Jesus means for our lives. Is he someone we think of often? Rely on often? Talk to often? Today is the start of a brand new day. It's the only day we're guaranteed right now. Let's use it to treasure what needs to be treasured, let go of what needs to be let go, and focus on what should be focussed on at this time.

Strip back what needs to be stripped back, and remember that the reason for Christmas wasn't to spend thousands of pounds on presents, decorations, Christmas cards, food and drink. It's the start of a relationship. The start of those special memories. Those moments of tears, heartache, and pain. Of forgetting, and remembering, and knowing that spending time with someone, no matter how short, can change your life forever.

Monday, 10 November 2014


It's been almost two weeks since my last blog post, which I have to say generated a lot more conversation with people than I thought it would. I forget sometimes that some people actually pay attention to what I post on here or on Facebook. A lot of the time it seems like I'm typing away to an empty screen.

I think that reflects a lot of how I feel about my life. I try my hardest to do the right thing, to help people, to be there when people need me. I often get it wrong and am always letting people down and sometimes it is weeks between when a friend contacts me for a meet up and when I actually get back to them. I know that I neglect a lot of people in my life because I'm too busy running around making other people happy. I'm sorry if you're one of those people. I'm going to try really hard to not neglect you; but please forgive me in advance.

I don't even know what I'm trying to say here to be honest. Feel free to give up now if you wish. I just, I'm currently trying to get my head around a conversation I just had with a male friend who yesterday I vowed I would never again speak to or let back into my heart. We had a falling out (of sorts) a few months ago and since then things have been pretty crappy. I miss him like crazy. I see things that I want to give him, laugh at things we used to laugh at together, hear songs that remind me of our friendship, and it breaks my heart. So for the sake of being able to move on and not be hurt any more by our falling out, I felt the need to put that our friendship behind me, and walk away. Yesterday I felt like I had just reached the end of the road.

The decision I made yesterday to do that was not easy, and it hasn't come quickly. This is a person who has been in my life for almost two years, and someone with whom I believe I have a connection that goes far beyond the realms of friendship or love or being like siblings. It's not romantic, its not about being together every day, but in its essence its about understanding what it feels like to be the other person. That's as good as I can get at explaining it. No-one understands it: at least no-one I have tried to talk to about it. Just me and him. It's something special and it's something unique, and I believed; until recently, that it was wholly God given. We've had our disagreements in the past, but we've always managed to put them behind us and move on. This one though, just seemed to be the end. Things have been difficult for a few months, and rather than continually putting myself through the agony of hoping it would get better, I decided to just say: enough is enough.

That was yesterday. And today is today. And today it seems, God had other plans. Whether He was waiting for me to hit rock bottom, I don't know. Maybe it was just a coincidence. But today, for one reason or another. We started talking. (Messaging.... it's the modern day equivalent.) At first it was awkward. I felt like we were both talking from anger or frustration or from not really trusting the other. And we both said lots of things that perhaps we should have said before and didn't. And then gradually, slowly, the sharp and bitter messages melted away, and the true hurt and heart came through into the conversation. And all of a sudden, as if in a flash, things seemed to be okay again. I felt it inside my chest before my head engaged with it. And I realised that in all this time, I was hurting so much that it didn't really occur to me that he was hurting too.

I've been living in my head, and everything he's done recently I've felt a personal stab. I guess when I don't talk to someone, and they don't talk to me, I automatically assume that the other person is thinking the worst of me. It seemed like he wanted nothing more to do with me. And he probably would have been justified in thinking so. I don't know. But now it just seems like everything that we were not talking about, everything that has hurt us both -  if we had acted out of love, if we had made a single move differently; had talked; none of this would have happened. Who knew.

And now I'm feeling a bit lost and as if I just dreamt the last few hours. I have dreams every night. And I've probably dreamt him several times in the last few months. I've searched and longed and clung to any small or minute (or non-existent) clue that he might be missing me too. Thinking about me too. Wanting to talk to me. And if I'm honest, it destroyed me. And now I have this 3 hour conversation that is all mine. And I have no idea what to do with it. And I'm almost terrified to go to bed in case when I wake up tomorrow this was a dream. Where do I place a friendship and companionship in my life that I've spent the last few months trying to cut out and forget about? My head says one thing and my heart another. Everyone who has seen or spoken to me in the last month knows how hard I have tried to move on and put this behind me. And now it's back. It's like a lost treasure that has been searched and searched for and never found. And then, after years and years of being missing: it's within reaching distance: it's right in front of me. Part of me has missed it. And part of me thought I could live without it. Which part do I listen to?

I love him. With more than just my head and my heart. He's more than just my big brother or my friend or my fellow depressive confidante: he's like someone God sent me. A shining light in my darkness. A whisper in my ear. A moment of peace in the storm. A hug. A kind word. A wink or a kiss on the head. He's me. But he's also my worst enemy. The person that if I let him in, has the potential to hurt me the most, destroy me, ruin my day, my week, my month. Drive me to the edge of my darkness. He's my dream and my nightmare. Because he's human. And he makes mistakes, just like I do. He gets frustrated, just like I do. He gives up, just like I do. Can I ever truly walk away? I honestly don't know. And I'm not even sure I want to.

Monday, 27 October 2014


N.B. If I'm entirely honest I have no idea why I have chosen today of all days to write a blog. It's been pretty uninteresting.

I can't believe it's been so long since I have poured my mind out on here. Way back in August, when I took the kids to Soul Survivor, I was in a particularly vulnerable place. I had completed a week of mission at the church I work for, and it had been an absolute success, but the effort of spending so much time around so many people had really taken it out of me. I spent a week in bed/ not doing much in order to recover and then whipped off to Soul Survivor with a load of teenagers ready for God to do some awesome stuff. I always have that expectation at Soul Survivor, no matter how wrong it is, that something will connect with me (or with the young people) more so than a normal church service or bible study or spending time with Christian friends. Everything just seems so much... more.

Anyway, the theme of the week's teaching was about friendships & relationships (with God and with others). At first it didn't particularly strike me or affect me but there was one particular moment, during the ministry time in one of the evening sessions that got to me. I tend to try and keep my own emotions and feelings in check when watching over the teenagers, but this particular moment I could do nothing but curl up into a ball on the floor and cry my heart out. I was touched by young people (past and present) coming over to pray for me, but it was then in that moment that I decided to trust in God to heal me of the thoughts, feelings and mental health issues I had been having up until that moment in my life. I wanted so much to rid myself of all the darkness that clouded my soul, wanted God to shine a torch into all my dark places and just clean everything out. I made a decision, however wisely or not, to stop taking my anti-depressant medicine that had over previous months worked it way up to the maximum dose. I felt I just needed to trust.

My lack of withdrawal symptoms for the first few weeks I took as a sign I was doing the right thing. I enjoyed two whole weeks with Dan, adventuring in the Lake District for a week, and then seeing friends and family in and around Essex. When September 1st came around, I thought I was prepared for whatever the world was going to throw at me. How very wrong I was.

Things at work and home quickly got stressful, upsetting, and a number of things threw me off the track I thought I was sailing down. My so-called recovery ground to a gut-wrenching halt, and I was suddenly taking tender baby steps each day, just to keep myself from going back to relying on drugs to keep my mood stable. The withdrawal symptoms I had experienced last time I stopped taking my medication came thick and fast, broken sleep, exhaustion, vivid dreams, tearfulness... I began arguing with everyone and anyone, I started taking everything personally, because sensitive to everything, and once again began crying to myself whenever I was alone. And still I put off going back to the GP. I had, in the summer, planned to go back to her and announce myself cured by the power of the Almighty. All of a sudden, the doubts began to creep in, and I found myself more than once heading towards the GP surgery to make an appointment before dragging myself home to bed again. I decided I would wait until this darkness had passed, and I was truly better, before going back. 

A month later, and the improvements have been slow. The symptoms of depression have slowly taken over the withdrawal symptoms, and no matter what I do to try and motivate myself, every day is a struggle. My bad moods are a vicious cycle, causing me to withdraw from many around me, which makes me feel worse, which makes me less likely to want to spend time with people. I have been forced to make some decisions that have made me feel worse, but that I know are best in the long run. I have done some stupid things in lame attempts to make myself feel better. I have tried to guard my broken heart by avoiding those who may damage it further, but in doing so have cut out some special relationships from my life. I know only too well that anything good comes at a cost, and right now it is a cost I am not willing to take;  that I just can't afford to take.

I know He that is in me is stronger than these tears, these nightmares, this darkness that is drowning me. Every day when I wake up and feel the same heaviness sitting on my chest, I yearn for the peace that I know only God can give. I will not let go of my Saviour because the depression is shouting louder. It's hard. It's bloody hard. And I am not strong. I am a feeble, pathetic excuse for a human. But I will not let the doubts take me from me what He has promised. My prayer now remains the same as it was on that night in August - "Jesus, set me free."