There was an error in this gadget

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory

Oscar Wilde said that...
I was thinking today that music and my memories are very intertwined. I used to be haunted by the song 'Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again'. It was during listening to that song that I realised quite how ill I was, how, for better or worse I had been irrevocably changed. I sang that song at Church the other night and I felt like it wasn't haunting me anymore. It was just a painful memory - not a reality. Nothing is the same because God came, thats what the song says. I used to think it meant that because I had been ill once, I would always be. I thought that until this past couple of months when I have been happy and (dare I say it) getting better. Singing that song, as praise to God and as service to him and Church, lessened the pain it used to bring near when I heard it. I'm trying to change that pain into a blessing to others...and, after all, that is what I have wanted all these years. To make what I have gone through, am going through, worth the struggle so that it can be used to show people, just a little bit of God's amazing grace and love.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Home

It's a funny place. It is the place I longed to be during that first week at LST - yet now I am here, I want to return to LST. Strange.
I think LST might just have become home in these past 10 weeks -it is the place I feel I belong. I have never felt that I belonged anywhere; not really. Home has always been where Mum is -and while I love being with her and being at home with her. I am not home, not really. Home is that place where I have been happier than ever before. I say ever before, and it sounds melodramatic -but there have been some days during the past term that I have not been plagued by bad memories or pain, there have been lots of days where I have not remembered until I fell into bed. There have been days where I have awoken from a peaceful sleep. Most days, I have wanted to get out of bed to be able to experience what the day holds for me. I have met people who I love - people that, in such a short space of time have become like family. Some of you may not know how incredible, how long awaited this sort of happiness has been for me. It has been something I have had to fight for every second on some days. LST has shown me what I have been missing, but more than that, it has shown me happiness, security and something near to peace. It has, most importantly I think, shown me hope. That although bad days such as this come, they do not have to stay, the good ones will come again and that they can be enjoyed without being followed by destruction. If this is one thing that I will take into 2010 it is Hope.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Busyness and Family

Apologies for the lack of entries over the past few weeks, it has been a touch manic! I have handed in my first essay, and the deadline for the second is fast approaching. I am preparing to sing at the open mic night tomorrow evening, attempting to begin revising for the impending exams and as I write I have just been set another essay due before the end of term. As you can see I am busy; trying to keep in contact with friends and family at home whilst sustaining and developing friendships here. At times I feel like I am going to go a bit mad with it all, and yet, over the past weeks I have found myself calling 'college' home. The people I have come to know, I have come to love; we come from differing backgrounds, have differing ways of dealing with stress and we all come with our own baggage and sensitivities. Yet amidst these differences we have come to care a great deal for each other and I have been struck how each of these people show me a little bit of Jesus' love every single day. As much as I am learning from reading, lectures and essays - I am learning just as much from living in a community and growing closer.
I also say without hesitation that through these new relationships, discoveries, alongside the learning I am doing academically, God is doing something new within me. A work of healing and renewal, a work that I pray will continue as the years pan out before me.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Time

I have very nearly completed my first month of study at LST and I say with no hesitation that time has flown. Time is a funny concept, we spend half our time wishing for time to go quicker and the other half wanting it to slow down so we can savour the moment or avoid some impending doom.

I have, like many others, wished away far too much time in my life. It has become clear over this past week that 'it is time' to deal with things that have been spirited away in the rush of the mundane, exciting thing we call life.

I wonder how many times in a day you say/think 'I'll deal with it later', or 'that can wait'. Whilst I am not advocating abandoning the schedule and prioritisation that is doubtless needed, I have been challenged this past few days not to put of those things that are vital. And by vital I do not mean things that need to be 'done', rather time that needs to be spent, cultivated and used to make things right with the one who is not bound by time or space.
On a visit to Winchester Cathedral a few years ago I picked up a post card that had the following words embossed upon it:
"Time is too slow for those who wait
Too swift for those who fear
Too long for those who grieve
Too short for those who rejoice
But for those who love
Time is Eternity"

We have been promised an eternity with our Father in Heaven...but let us not waste the time on earth we have to 'get right' with him.

I challenge you to use your time wisely, do what needs to be done. It is Time.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Promise

Apologies for the belated entry this week, but the realities of being a university student have been hitting home well and truly!
Two essays set, countless books to read, lots of colour-coding notes and I am loving it! It's amazing to be studying for a degree and being able to learn more about God as I do so. I have been amazed, particularly considering the rather rocky first week how settled I now feel; yes I have the days when I want my own bed and a cuddle with my Mum, but I do feel at home at LST. I feel incredibly blessed with the story I have and the God I serve, the freedom I have to learn about the Bible, the Church and how to use what I am learning to carry out God's calling on my life.
I have been so challenged by the people and the teaching to live my life relying, not on the earthly things and people which can so easily fall away. We have been spending our Old Testament Survey lectures focussing on the story of Abraham, the promises God made him, but also the actions Abraham had to take. Called to leave his home, family and everything he was familiar with, I have felt a little affinity with him in the past few weeks - and I only moved a 40minute car journey away! God used Abraham in a mighty way, but I am sure there were times when Abraham wondered when, if ever, the spectacular promises God made him would appear. And yet Abraham held on, slipping a little on the way, but he was clinging to the covenant God made with him.
There are so many lessons to be learned from the way God used Abraham, and how Abraham leant on the promises and trusted God when everything was against him. As for me? I'm learning and I hope I will continue to learn to live more fully, love more deeply and trust more surely...
There seems to be a lot of exhaustion and sleeplessness at college, please pray for a restful weekend and an awakened zest for study and caring for each other.
Yours,

Fresher's Week

Ok, so my first week at LST is over and it has been a little harder than I thought it would be. I think I assumed I would adapt to 'leaving home' really easily, but this was not the case and I ended up going home mid week and for the weekend; however, God has really revealed his Father heart this past week, when I have been missing home and my Mum so desperately. I have met truly lovely people and, as difficult as it has been I have felt (in my saner moments at least) that I can be really happy here.
Sometimes we can put so much importance and pressure on our families and homes, they can feel as if they are the centre of our world and I know I am guilty of relying on my family at least as much, if not more than I rely on God. This week I have been challenged to keep looking up to the one who can never leave us and will never forsake us.
Usually when I am having a rough time, God can seem distant, but this past week I have felt pulled into his arms, and I have been able to lean on him, doing things in his almighty strength instead of my own. I challenge each of you to think about where God is in your priority list, he may be the one we run to when it is tough, and neglect when life is good, or he may the one we tell all our good news to, but shy away from him when we are having a hard time. If I have learnt this much during my first week here, I am excited to know how much more I will learn in the coming weeks and months, how much closer I will draw to my Lord in sunshine and showers.
Please remember me and my fellow students as we begin our studies this week, some after a long time away from study, in your prayers as we adapt to doing a degree. I thank God for the faithful friends I have who I know are praying, and be assured of my prayers for you.

Countdown

Yes, you did read it right, Bible Colleges do have "Freshers" and we also have a Freshers' Week. Ok, drunkenness will probably not rate highly on the agenda, but meeting people and finding your way around this 'being a student' thing probably will.
There are three days to go until I officially leave my home, my home church and my Mum to begin my new life at the London School of Theology. It's exciting, petrifying and it's also what I have wanted since I was 14 and first saw the LST website. I am armed with Bible, Textbooks, highlighters and lever arch files, ready to return to being a student. On that note, I will return to my packing and write more once I have arrived!