Hearing God swear.

If you are easily offended by swearing (and/or the thought of God swearing) this is your warning.

I went on holiday a few weeks ago. I spent quite a lot of time praying and talking to God. I read Pete Greig’s ‘God on Mute’ book. Which made me cry numerous times.

I don’t have answers. No one has the answers. People are honest with me about that. Which I am thankful for. Friends, church leaders, people walking with me. Who knows why this is happening? I don’t. And reading Pete Grieg’s book reassured me. That even the founder of a 24/7 prayer movement doesn’t have all the answers. And in his own suffering and issues facing him, his wife and family he admits to asking the hard questions.

So I sat on the beach, asking some hard questions of God and as watched the sea, the sky, the waves, people I made a decision.

I decided that if I’m really sick, as in really really sick, as in if I have Mast Cell Leukaemia which my haematologist will give me more of an idea about next week I didn’t want treatment. Having googled far too much in those initial 48 hours I understand and realise and know about the severity of it.

The statistics are not great. Its considered ‘progressive’/’chronic’ so by the time its been detected its often too late to anything about it. And even then its aggressive. So even doing anything about it would most likely be fruitless.

So I decided I didnt want treatment.

IF (its a big if at the moment) I have MCL and I’m going to die, then I don’t want to die having spent the last however long of my life being even sicker because of treatment. Because of chemo. I don’t want the side effects ruining what I might have left of life.

I would take the drugs I needed to to die peacefully. Pain free. And happy. I decided that.

And as I decided that. I cried. And felt lighter. And more peaceful. And at that moment my two friends arrived on the beach to join me. I had my sunnies on, so they didn’t see my tear filled eyes. As they settled in, I decided to walk the shoreline. I wet my feet. Saw the indentations of my footprints as I strolled along. And I walked.

I had my old iPod with me, which was playing Tim Hughes music. Old Tim Hughes music. And I reflected on the fact that in the days of old, I used to go and sit by the shore line on a beach near my house and hurt my self. And then to make it hurt even more, I would pour salty sea water into my wounds. Its a miracle they never got infected. 7 years ago, I was in a bad place mentally and I used to sit by the beach wishing I was brave enough to walk in and drown.

Anyway, 2015, walking along the sun drenched beach in Portugal having decided if I have cancer I would have no treatment, I thanked God for all He had done in my life. For who He is, and for HOW far He has bought me. I’m not where I want/ed to be, but I’m not where I was either, and thats good.

And in that moment I heard God.

 

And He was saying ‘WHAT THE FUCK?’. Ha. Yep. For real.

It stopped me in my tracks. Literally. ‘What the fuck?’.

And yes, I was like, ‘Er you are not supposed to be swearing at me, thats MY job, to swear at you’. And I have. Many a time.

And so I was shocked. And jolted. A bit like a lightening strike, not that I’m sure those things actually happen, I don’t know. Maybe they do? Maybe they are not actual lightening strikes, but maybe they are moments that stop you dead in your tracks, and jolt you. Like this moment for me. And as I’m typing these words, I have a song playing called ‘holy moment’. And bizarrely, and in an unusual way, actually, it was a holy moment. It was what I felt like a ‘direct communication’ moment. I had talked to God. A lot. And now He was talking back.

To be honest, I can’t really fully put into words what I felt, and how it felt. But I ended up on my knees.

I figure ‘holy moments’ are supposed to be really reverent. I don’t know? I’m not sure what holy moments are meant to be and whether they are meant to include bad language. I don’t know what holy moments are meant to be, but to me, it was this.

It was a holy moment.

God was using my language. Back at me. And made me stop in my tracks. And made me realise I had said a lot to Him. But I wasn’t listening back.

It was a life lesson moment. A life lesson moment of stopping and listening to Him.

I was over awed.

Anyway, God made me hear him. By swearing at me. Unconventional, sure. But hey, this IS God.

So, why was God shouting ‘what the fuck?’. Well … because actually He had a point. What was I thinking … making my own plans?. Deciding my own future. Deciding what I was going to do. I, I, I. It was about all about I. I this, I that, I the other. And actually God wanted in. God wanted an in on my decisions (and some of those decisions aren’t mine to make anyway)

He was reminding me that He has a different plan for my life. That His plan for my life is not for me to curl up, wither away and die.

His ‘what the fuck?’ was reminding me that I am a fighter. As I wrote in my previous blog. I always have been, still am, and actually always will be a fighter. It is not in my nature to just ‘give up’. Even through gritted teeth as times, I have continued to fight. For a better life, a better future, a better world. I don’t know how well I’ve done, but I keep going.

His ‘what the fuck?’ was reminding me that I am not alone, and that I am a fighter, and that He is with me in this too. His presence is in my life. In January I had several life changing experiences of God over a space of 4 days. I’ve never been the same since. And during the first experience I had I felt strongly in a way that needs a whole blog on its own God saying ‘I have bought you safely this far, I am not letting go now’.

And when I look back, through it all, and I mean THROUGH IT ALL, not just this ill health, but through the abuse, the violence, the rape I realise and see that He is right. He has bought me safely, through it all. He isn’t going to stop now. He isn’t going to let me fall. He isn’t going to let me go. And He isn’t going to let me let go.

And so, by the time I had walked several miles up and down the beach after that ‘moment’ I realised I have to let God do what He does best, and be God. And let Him be in control. And trust that He has a reason, and a purpose. That whatever will be, will be.

But I have to keep walking with Him. Hand in hand (I know, its soppy, sorry, and hell, I have such a big issue with handholding anyway, but …)

By the time I got back to my sun lounger, still on the beach, my friends were chatting away, one was about to get ice creams, and I sat back down and smiled and joined in with them.

Gods ‘what the fuck?’ stopped me in my tracks. He will not stop fighting for me and so I must not stop fighting either. IF I am really sick, if I am to die sooner than old age, I will go down in the way that I know best. Fighting. With my family and friends. And with God.

For He is good.

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Some thoughts about Fathers Day 2015 (& God)

In July 2014 I turned 30.
I hadn’t been in touch with him since a few years prior. I didn’t even know he knew how to get hold of me. As far as I was aware he didn’t. But he found me – on my 30th birthday.
And instead of celebrating during the day I was thrown into a meltdown of ‘he knows where I am’ and ‘WHY?’
Why now? Why not the many birthdays or Christmases before as he flitted in and out of my late teens/twenties?
We ended up having one or two text messages. He hasn’t been in touch since. But I knew he wouldn’t. He never does until its convenient for him.

And I’ve accepted that.

I’ve also accepted that it’s been painful.
It’s been painful to know he chose to abandon us as young children.
It’s been painful to know that subsequently the times I HAD to go and stay with him during school holidays he was abusive.
It’s been painful to know that I was and am not important enough.
It’s been painful to know that I am and never have been, and never will be good enough for him.

 

Its been painful to know that the dream you have as a little girl of your ‘Daddy’ being someone who would love and protect you was broken early on.
Its been painful to know growing up that the one who is supposed to shield you from the atrocities of life was one of the ones perpetrating some of them against you.
It’s been painful over the years to try so hard to be what I simply can’t be, in order to ‘win’ his love. Or to ‘win’ that relationship that would be functional, loving, and ‘normal’.

It’s been painful in many more ways. It’s been painful. It really has.

And yet today, Fathers Day 2015 I will choose to go to church, and worship God, who is ‘Father’. MY FATHER.

Last year during a seminar series my church run each term, I was challenged to my core, not long before I was due to be baptised. The person speaking said ‘who gave you permission to view your heavenly father in the same way as your earthly father’.
I went to bed crying that night. It hit me that I had spent many years comparing God to my biological father. And if I’m comparing God to him, then am I saying God is an abuser? I used to call God a sadistic Nazi bastard especially when I was being told/was starting to believe He ‘orchestrates all things so good will happen’ (I’ve subsequently learnt God actually weaves all things into good, which is different to saying He makes things happen so good will come of them) because I thought that meant God deliberately makes the horrendous moments exist (He doesn’t)

I couldn’t and still cannot see God as an abuser.
And so I had to separate God and my biological father.
It hasn’t been been easy. It has involved dealing with stuff. It still involves walking through some stuff. And sometimes it’s still painful. But this year, for me it feels like the sting is not quite as harsh.

A few weeks ago, in church I had a teary eyed/lump in throat moment watching a child being embraced by an adult in the service. Being embraced by someone who is a father. A grandfather.
He wasn’t this child’s father/grandfather but this child went to him.
I watched as she held on to him.
I watched as she sought comfort.
I watched as she sat on his knee, as she stayed still.
Loved. Safe.

Its all some of us ever long for isn’t it?
In a world that is often very hard and unkind.
To feel loved. And safe.

It’s all I’ve ever longed for, actually.

But I know I’m never going to find that with my biological father. So I’ve stopped striving for it.

I have to lift my eyes towards my heavenly one.
My God.
Who is safe.
There is no other.

He won’t abuse me. He won’t hurt me. He won’t leave me.
He won’t abuse you. He won’t hurt you. He won’t leave you.

As I wrote in my blog on Fathers Day last year
‘I don’t have an earthly father who loves me. In fact I have an earthly father who has caused untold pain and damage.

But I have a Godly one who does love and is love’

IF today is a day of rejoicing, celebration, happiness and gladness, I am really glad. If you have a Dad, a biological one, or one who takes on the role, as a step, or as a role model, or as a male figure in your life, I hope you are able to enjoy spending time with them/or celebrating them in some way. I join you in wishing those people Happy Fathers Day.

IF today is a day of remembering loved and lost ones, then I hope in your grief you are able to remember the good times.

 IF today is a day of pain, hurt, sadness, anger, darkness or any other negative emotion and IF today does nothing but remind of someone you have never had, or of someone who has hurt you beyond your wildest dreams then I am sorry.

I have am and will be thinking of you today.

Planning my funeral before my wedding, and fighting on.

I always imagined walking down the aisle, with my Grandad, to ‘Gabriels Oboe’.

My most favourite piece of music.

I never imagined at the age of 30 I would have planned my funeral and that instead of planning for walking towards someone who felt I was worthy of marrying, I would be thinking about the fact that I want my coffin taking in and out of church to that same piece of music.

At the moment it feels like death might come before marriage.

And I never imagined that.

Well, maybe I did, once before. 7/8 years ago when my world felt very black … but since then I’ve started to live life again.

I rediscovered hope. I rediscovered faith. I rediscovered what it means to wake up in the morning and be glad to be alive. I rediscovered what it is to smile again. Properly smile, not the fake ‘through gritted teeth’ or ‘pretend’ smile. And to laugh again.

So at the moment it is all a bit weird – because I’m finding myself in a place where to be alive feels too good and too precious to give up on, but yet I have had to spend time wondering if eventually I’ll have no choice.

Sometimes when I start my day I wonder if this is going to be the day that I die.

I wonder if It’ll be the day I have an asthma attack that they actually cant get on top of.

I’ve more than a few now that have gotten pretty close …

I wonder if this will be the day when my body is allergic to something that closes my airways or that I react so badly to, I just die.

I wonder if there is something more serious going on that no one has been able to identify which is why I am now seeing more consultsants, and facing even more tests.

I wonder if, when a few weeks ago one of my Consultants told me about mast cell disorder and that there are indicators that could suggest something much more serious than that if I have cancer. And if I’m going to die.

I’m not sure if I have ever thought about dying so much.

I was never really conscious of breathing. You know, that thing we all do, thousands of times a day. We breathe in. We breathe out. We take absolutely no notice. Well, most of us don’t. I never did. Until the first day I found myself unable to breathe.

Then I became pretty conscious of it.

Someone from recently told me I am like a cat with ‘9 lives’. I think I’m pretty close to that now … and then what …?

What happens when the nine lives have been used up – is that death?

I don’t know. At the moment I don’t know a lot.

But I do know I don’t want to die.

 

I do know, that despite the scars of a life before turning 30 that I am glad to be alive. And I don’t want to die.

 

I also know that I am a fighter.

On those days when I don’t want to get up and face the world, somehow I have to keep fighting.

On the days when I have absolutely no energy and I wake up and bury my head under the pillow for a few extra minutes that I somehow I have to keep fighting.

On the days when yet another hospital appointment feels like it might tip me over the edge, I have to keep on fighting.

I have to keep on fighting. Because if I don’t, then I might as well be dead.

 

Some days the fight looks like crying.

Some days the fight looks like wanting to have a tantrum.

Some days the fight looks like allowing myself to be looked after by other people.

Some days the fight looks like looking quite well and being able to go out.

Some days the fight looks like sleeping all day because I have no energy for anything else.

Some days the fight looks like writing.

Some days the fight looks like being the positive, strong and resisilent Helen lots of you know.

Some days the fight looks like reading my bible, praying, worshipping God.

Some days the fight looks like asking God why.

Some days the fight looks like being surrounded by my church family and friends and being together corporately to praise and learn about the One who has given us life.

Some days the fight looks easier than other days.

Some days the fight looks harder than other days.

 

Each day is different. But I know with each sun rise in the morning, comes a new day.

A new breath. For that moment, for that minute, for that hour. For that day.

And I am thankful for that.