Sunday, 13 February 2011

Deciding to live in a field..

Well I am actually supposed to be studying for an exam right now but I reckon this is as constructive..
I am certainly on here a lot less that I used to be but I am going to try my best to keep this wee blog up this year as it is a great way to vent the many ponderings of this little overactive mind of mine. I think a lot!! Too much my hubby would say. I love it though.. I love thinking through something to the point where you discover an entire new dimension beneath the surface. There is so much more than what meets the eye in practically everything we encounter in life. I am going to make it my job to try not to miss too much of it!

I was reading a bit tonight. Ding is away to a worship practice so I have time to kill.. the bible out, the lap top and a wee glass of wine on the sofa.. great! Don't get me wrong its usually spent watching trashy tv.
Here is the verse that has got my attention tonight..

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it he hid it again and then in his joy sold all he had and bought the field" Mat 13:44

I have tried to understand exactly what this means and I think I have made it more complicated than it was meant to but sure have a read anyway..

There is something special about the treasure in this story, it is not applicable to silver or gold. This story only works if you really are talking about a supernatural treasure.. The kingdom of Jesus.
This young guy in the story would have just been going about his normal day. I don't think it seems like he was out hunting for treasure. Minding his own business, getting on with his life, something happened that would shape the rest of his life.
He found treasure. He must have stopped and thought for a bit.. Is this really happening? What do I do?

He had options...

He could have left the treasure there, went about his normal day and just come back to get what he needed from the treasure when he was a bit short for cash..

He could have picked up that box and brought it with him. He could have used the treasure to buy another nicer field or to spend on just general stuff.. a new car..or donkey I suppose it would have been.

He could have thought.."Someone else who is more in need should find this treasure so I will just leave it here"

He didn't do any of these things. He sort of went all out to ensure that treasure was his. To take full ownership of it.. and the land surrounding it. To secure his right to have that treasure so that he could not be accused.

It says that in his JOY he went away and sold out.. everything he owned.. the things he had worked for. These things must have seemed like nothing in comparison to the treasure.

He wanted to dwell where this treasure was. He wasn't going to carry it around in his own strength he was going to live in that field.. go out from it and go into it. The was something special about the treasure.

The kingdom of God is not about silver or gold. It is not like earthly treasure and when it has your name on it you cannot pass it up.. you know it is yours .. you know you are called.

I suppose that sometimes we try to do some of the options that I have said above. Sometimes we leave the kingdom of God over in one field (or area of our life) and then live in another place. We visit it and take from it when we need to clear our conscience or need to prove to people or even to God sometimes that we are up for it.. We are sold out God.. really! ?

Sometimes, and I am particularly prone to this, we take God and we try to carry him with us in our own strength. Living out of a place with no real power or anointing. Its a bit flat and certainly doesn't come easy. If we live where the treasure is God carries us into our lives. It is much more supernatural when we are by the source. His burden is light. You can carry earthly treasure but we cannot carry our gift from God.
Trying to live life in your own strength is the most exhausting task.. You wake up in the morning and look wiped.. because the joy of the Lord is meant to be your strength not your own works!!

Then at times we think... ah thats not for me. Someone else would be better at that. God isn't really calling me its just my imagination. I will go back to my own wee life.
By the way.. It is for you. It is for me and I am not missing out on the kingdom life in that filed.

Of course Jesus said.. "Go into all the world". I am not for one second suggesting that Kingdom livers stay separate from the world. I actually cannot stand people with that attitude. I am saying we cant live out of the world. It simply doesn't have the resources, the joy we need to strengthen us to truly live freely!

So we are meant to go sell all our stuff and buy the field.. What does that even mean?

Well I feel that it means that we do everything we can to ensure that we do not loose out on the treasure that God has for us. That we decide to simply live in God. That we experience the blessing that comes from moving to that field and going in and out of it and most importantly bringing people into it.
This is not works. Trying to carry this thing ourselves is work and human effort. Selling out and opting to buy the field is easy because then we trust the supernatural power and calling of God to carry us through life and I feel that this is something God has been speaking to me about.

I believe that God has called us to this type of stuff...
" break the chains of the oppressed...cancel debts....share food with the hungary... put clothes on the available to our families.. Isaiah 58 :6 -the message

So we find Gods kingdom. It calls us.
We experience joy.
We sell out for it.
We live IN it and go OUT from it.
We do not carry it in our own strength.
It carries us.
The joy of the Lord is our strength.
We dwell in it for ever.. It is eternal.

And mostly its about serving the poor and weak of this world and finding God in them.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Getting my head around God..

No one has ever seen god but if we love one another God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

I have spent a little bit of time reading 1 John this morning. Its been a long time since I have blogged and I guess blogging in general has died out a bit but I wanted to vent some of the thoughts that have been milling around in my head for the past wee while.

As many will know I have chosen to follow a career in psychiatry. A deep subject of the mind, the will and the emotions. Its a complicated thing our minds.. (understatement) I have been trying to get my head around the science of how we think and feel for the exams I am doing. I must say God made the part of us that was meant for understanding so complex that its impossible to fully understand it!
With all my working in psych so far I have struggled a bit with my faith and have been open about this with many people. My husband amazes me as he is always so sure about God and about what life is all about. I on the other hand think too much and try to understand too much.

I guess the thing is that no one has actually seen God. I certainly believe I have encountered God and seen glimpses of him in creation and as I have always said, in the poor and broken of the world. However we will only see God face to face when we are out of these earthly bodies.

As I treat people who suffer delusions, a lot of which are based around God and the devil it starts to make you think...Is this God thing all just madness? Do we really "hear" from God or is that just a mind game? I look back at times in my life when I was so sure about it all and I have started to ask myself some scary questions. Was I just imaging it? Was it just to give me a sense of security in a lonely world?
I have also really had to think hard about it because of what certain so called "people of God" come out with.
I really do cringe sometimes at the way christian people act. It embarrasses me. I do not want to be thought of as judgmental, no craic and a bit square.. I really really don't!
I also though don't want to be complacent and middle of the way with a faith that I would really need to be going 100% with.

I think everyone thinks about God in some capacity. Everyone needs hope and everyone needs love. So even people who don't claim to be good living are muttering prayers to God in times of need and are experiencing those inspiring heart pounding moments when they see Gods beauty in creation.. connecting with the one that created them on some level. Generally though connection with the church is not really happening mostly because of the focus on peoples behaviour which is often labelled as sin. I look back at Jesus and who he was on earth. He wasn't just a member of church... he was God... and yet he never gave the attention to right living and acceptable behavior that many church goers do today. He just loved. He just gave. He seemed like a good guy to hang out with and I can not find a place in the bible where he put anyone off church by being judgmental and stuck up.

As I have wondered what this whole living for Jesus thing is all about I have made a small discovery on my journey. Living for Jesus is not about who we say we are. Its not about how many people we manage to coax into following God in exchange for their normal life. Its definitely not about being better than anyone else or about not being able to have fun.

Living for this cause, a cause that is more supernatural than the day to day drudge of life is simple. It really is about love.
My favorite part of the bible is that it says God is love. People wonder what it means when it says we are made in Gods image... It means we were made to love. And we do.... everyone has that capacity.

So I have never met God face to face but I know what love means. I know that I want to give my life to help others. To love my husband. To love my friends and family and importantly to love those that are around me..
I know that in our churches it is often said or sang "It is finished..the cross has done it, the work is over". Thats such a comforting thing to know that there is no more struggling to be done to get right with God... its sorted. However as the verse at the top says, his love is complete in us when we love others. As we love one another the work that has been done is brought out into the open in its fullest form. It becomes visible on earth. Its not just a bible story. It comes to life as we express it. So the work is over but that doesn't mean there is nothing left to discover and experience.

So my intellectualising cant answer that. I cant understand love. Its too deep. Its supernatural. It is God and God is love.
As I have doubts milling in my mind I feel peace today because I know that love is real. I know that God is bringing me to a place where I was more sure than before. A place where its all real and not fake. I will be stronger and I will be still and know that he is God in that place of peace and rest.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

faith love and bickering..

Was just sitting reading Galatians last night and just felt that parts of it were really relevant to some of the stuff that I have been thinking about and some things that have had me a bit confused.

Gal 5,6
"What is important is faith expressing itself in love"
"Use your freedom to serve one another in love....the whole law can be summed up by this love your neighbour as yourself"
"BUT if you are always BITING and Devouring one another watch out beware of destroying one another"

I know God is telling me something through this.
I have been confused recently by some of the division, back biting and sheer malice that goes on  within and between christian communities. I often wonder who is in the right? Who is in the wrong? Does it even matter? What does God think?

This verse has reassured me and in a way summed things up for me.
In this passage Paul has his work cut out for him trying to convince a nation that were used to rules and regulations as their religion, that religion now had a new meaning. The message of Jesus was evolving and people had to accept the fact that now there was grace and forgiveness....freedom. Everyone did not have to agree on the minor details of doctrine. They were to work out their own way of following Jesus in freedom and integrity.
We can either decide to be legalistic or we can follow Jesus. trying to be both causes unnecessary guilt envy and harsh judgement against others who don't do their walk with God the way we do. 
Paul advised the Galatians not just to be free for the sake of it, not to use their freedom to do whatever they wanted but they were to use their freedom to love and support others.
These people had been so caught up in sacrificing the right animals, wearing the right clothes to the temple, talking the right religious talk and Paul is saying.... the whole law in a nut shell is actually just to love your neighbour.
I don't know but maybe its actually easier to be religious and follow a list of dos and dont's than it is to love people, especially people who we disagree with.

The measure of our faith therefore is LOVE.
It is not face value..

"He leads a church, he must have an amazing faith"
"He is always up at the front...he must be really close to God"
I think that is shallow.
Yes a lot of these people are truly close to God but unless we know them we probably shouldn't judge.

Faith is expressed in love. Ever met someone who leads people amazingly from the front but has very little love to give off the platform. I have. I think a loving, outreaching, outwardly focused heart speaks more than a thousand of their sermons and "christian practices"... I would rather see a sermon than hear one any day...
We can be stuck on rules and on the way things should be done. Especially in our churches. The rules have even moulded themselves to be more modern and subtle but even now in our trendy church services we still have codes and boundaries which to me at times seem a bit religious. 
We have pride, opinions, tradition, intellect....
often to our detriment.

I wonder what God thinks when we spend a lot of time and energy bickering over doctrine and different ways of doing church. When we spend our time gossiping about how wrong some people are.
Will he not just ask...why did you not just love?....that's the law in a nut shell.

I know a lot of Christians and some have very different ideas about things than others. I also know Christians....members of Gods family...whose faith is doubted by other Christians. All I can say is that I think faith is expressed in love and as long as these people continue to carry the fire of God in their heart and I can continue to sense the love and compassion of Jesus from them...they are part of Gods family no matter what the doctrinal differences are. I am not talking about false teaching,
I am talking about people who believe in the life death and rising of Jesus. Who believe in salvation and grace and freedom, who long and strive for kingdom advances and who to be honest are expressing their faith in love more than most.

Maybe God has a more relaxed approach to our differences as long as our common denominator is the same. I have seen many sides of Gods character in different circumstances of my life and in different parts of the world. God has eternal dimensions. He enjoys diversity and probably prefers that to a load of cloned churches... perhaps different interpretations of different parts of his word and the expressions of that are to be celebrated and supported.

We need to learn to love brothers and sisters in Jesus regardless of the path they have chosen.
Otherwise we can and will destroy each other.
What about being happy for people who are doing something new and different rather than waiting and secretly hoping for it to fail...."I knew it wouldn't work".

The body of Christ has been divided for centuries due to the "tut tuts" of self righteous members who don't like change and don't like anything different to what they think is right. Who don't like to loose control...

God enjoys our diversity and longs for us to do the same...

Supporting one another
Equipping one another
Loving one another 
Regardless of who gains more success or recognition.

That's my rant over...
Am off to have my wedding dress fitted....... yippeeee!!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

I have not forgotten

Well i have been swallowed up in wedding plans over the last few months....Getting married is very exciting but the actual wedding day can become the focus and its really not. Trying to keep everyone happy can be a big old pain in the ass.... but Its all good.
I am still working in Psychiatry. I'm on the dementia ward and It has been a strange but valuable experience.
Dementia is a disease that effects a significant amount of elderly people and some younger people. There are lots of different types but generally the story goes like this...
A coupe have been married for a long time, they have travelled the world together, they have had children and watched them grow up and have their own families, they have grown to love each other more and more even as their bodies age. Then one day he notices that she has started leaving the back door open, started putting things in the wrong place or started buying ives things twice because she forgot she already had...
This they joke about because it doesn't really cause any harm and doesn't effect their lives.
Things then start to progress. She goes out in the car and suddenly forgets where she is going. They have to go and look for her, she is lost in her home town. She leaves the cooker on before bed time, if he had not have smelt the burning smell the house would have burnt down...
This is usually the time when they present themselves to a clinic to see someone like me who does all sorts of memory tests and breaks the news about Alzheimer's disease. He looks frightened and has all sorts of fears.

Then eventually the situation progresses even further, the patients then loose the ability to recognise their loved ones, at times they become suspicious of them and become aggressive toward them... hitting, kicking.

Now he is repeatedly told to go away and never come back, she hits, kicks. She believes he is a thief and an alcoholic as he illness has given her a paranoia. Quite clearly he is just a lovely man with a broken heart.
What is he to do? He explains to the doctor that he wants to try to take her home with him again rather than to a nursing home. He made vows all those years ago that for better of for worse and in sickness and in long as they both live.
He has not lost the ability to remember and so while he is able he will be loyal and true to the words that he spoke all those years ago.
I find that so beautiful. These people are literally part of each other. When one turns away due to mental sickness it must be devastating and many may loose heart but this man has decided that commitment is commitment regardless of the time that has past or if the person has changed. He loves her. He can see the real person even if he has to look back in order to look forwards.

I love how this reflects Gods love for me....that sounds cheesy but really recently due to busyness and life I have at times worried if God had forgotten about my dreams, my gifts, my heart. He made me a promise and more than any human God remembers and never turns his back on us or changes his mind. He is the same yesterday today and forever. He does not age and fade away he is eternal. How reassuring to have something so solid under our feet when may face all sorts of difficulties due to our health or our situations.... God wishes to prosper us and give us a hope and a future. It would be awsome if that meant life was easy but the more Isee the more I realise that the road is tough but God has not forgotten he is right there beside us every step of the way....God with us... that is hope and prosperity no matter what we are going through.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Free to live, free to give...

Well blogging seems to be a dying art but I reckon I will pump another few posts out before i consider calling it a day. I have moved jobs now and have a bit more time on my hands. I am doing Psychiatry now which some other doctors like to call Psych-a-holiday. Its not as chilled as I expected but it sure is a nicer lifestyle than working in a slog job like medicine. Saving lives is rewarding but It comes with anti social hours.

I on other other hand spend all day asking people how they feel, if they see hope ahead and if they think life is worth living. I try and find out what the voices are saying to them, whether the voices are male, female, speaking directly to them or in third person and the list goes on... Mental illness is a reality and it breaks the hearts of the sufferer and the carer alike. It is rewarding to make a difference in this. Maybe saving lives in another kind of way.

Anyway I have been traveling to downpatrick every day in the good old c2.... which I bashed the other week but its OK... I have had lots of time in the car to think and pray which is cool cause its hard to make the time sometimes. I have just sensed God telling me a bit about freedom and what it really means to be free.

I am the worst for getting bound up in worries, stresses and negativity. Sometimes I will think of the worst possible outcome and expect that so that anything else is a bonus. This is not from God.
I was listening to a song by tim hughes in the car which I cant even remember the name of but there is a part that goes
"I am free to live, free to give, free to be, free to love you"

Love it!!
This has changed my heart this week. We are free to live, not just drudge along expecting things to always be the same but to really really live. I went for a glass of wine with a friend on Monday night and she said..."If there is no growth we are not alive". We have to live. We have to be constantly moving forward into the dreams and revelations of God. Moving forward in prayer and in God's word and most of all moving forward in faith.... believing for more and more.
If I ask myself.... do I believe God for more stuff now that I did 5 years ago? The answer is possibly no.... its probably the same.... that needs to come alive and grow.

We are free to give. Flip this has really challenged me over the past couple of weeks. Ding and I were in Dublin a couple of weekends ago to chill and get away from wedding buzz. We were walking past homeless people who were begging. Each one of them made me feel sad and sorry for them.... but what is sympathy really. Ding said to me when we were sitting having a wee cocktail that he felt really challenged that he almost would hesitate to give money to people like that.... that sometimes he thinks to much about it like.... what will they do with the money? was it their own fault they ended up in the situation they did? why don't they try to get a job?? 
Ding is the kindest person and would give away his last penny. I realised he was being honest and that I too shared the same reasons for not giving at times. We both concluded that God says....give....just give...
God gives to us and continues to give even if we waste what he gives to us....we must give freely not bound by the ifs and buts...just giving because its better to give than to get.

Free to be
Some times I find it hard to just be. Sometimes its hard to be still, not rushing to work, to meet someone etc..
We almost like to be on the go because it means we don't have to sit and think and reflect on our lives. I feel God saying that this is something I need ...time out just to be and to be free in the silence outside of the hustle.

Free to love you. We are free to love Jesus despite our sin because he has taken it all....we are free to love others and we should do so freely again not needing them to be cleaned up first...rough round the edges is actually sometimes more lovable to me anyway. I admitted a guy yesterday who has been addicted to speed and cocaine since he was 12 years old. He is now 26 and wants to stop. He was lovely in a rough round the edges way. I felt the love of Jesus go out to him and I also realised that with love comes hope because I saw hope that he could climb the mountain he was facing and I told him that.

So freedom is the word in my head at the minute...Satan tries to hold us back but I feel that its important to live and move forward with a "nothings going to hold me back attitude" with a vision that we can only keep if we encounter God daily. We need to give ...without thinking about it too much, We need to be still without needing to rush and we need to love God and our neighbour as ourselves.

None of this is law or rules....that's the point no one can tell me I must do this....I have to experience God then I am free to do these things and love it!!!

Saturday, 18 July 2009


Ok so there have been a few developments in my life since I was last on here, there is the fact that I have a new job come August in Downpatrick, there is the fact that I have been on 2 very lovely holidays with some very special people and most significantly there is the fact that I am getting married.....ahhh....the excitement!

I have been very blessed to have met the man I love, who was made to be my other half, who looks after me... cause lets face it I need looking after, and who makes me laugh a lot!!
I am full of hopes and dreams. God is good. 
Togetherness is such an amazing thing. Someone to journey life with. Someone who will be your number one fan and you theirs.

I once heard a guy speak at a church service. His talk was pretty deep and was about serving God and loving others. He said a lot of stuff that challenged and that made sense but I remember significantly what he said in conclusion.
I think his exact words were, "I could talk all night but I want to sum things up by saying, I want to love my wife and my children and serve them as Jesus would."

This is a new time for me. I have always dreamed of serving God in lots of different ways. I have a fondness for people that have less blessing in their life than me. I also  want to make it a priority to love my husband with my whole heart and serve him as best I can. I know that then God can use us together and individually to serve him in who knows what ways. He already does.
I am amazed at the beauty of togetherness. 
Joy Bell....Is that not the happiest name ever!!!
Bring on the Dings!!!!

Sunday, 7 June 2009


No I am not being self obsessed I actually have been thinking about joy...not just me the person but the whole concept of this wee word that has been with me for a good few years. People sing joy to the world or Ive got that joy joy joy joy down in my heart on a regular basis at me and each time think they have come up with something really original...torture! I always find that if in church when we sing a song with the word joy in it I cant help but feel weird...I think it feels weird to say your own name out loud...anyway enough of my rambling.
The Joy of God is a phenomenal thing.

Real joy comes from knowing our maker and being one with him. It comes from a deep knowledge and security in Jesus. When the storms come and the boat rocks it gives us the ability to know, not just hope but know that everything will be good, not just ok. That's hard sometimes.
Joy makes us feel the warmth of Gods love deep down in our very bones and gives us a peace and calm that happiness just cant muster.
Joy and happiness are not the same for me. I have felt joy before even in sad times.

I remember about 3 years ago when my Granada got sick. I loved him so much.
I just happened to be off for the summer before I went back to do my finals at queens. I had free time.
He was nursed in a side ward on the ward where my mum has worked for years in Craigavon and her friends were the nurses that looked after him. I had the privilege of holding his hand for quite literally a whole week. I was there when he breathed his last as were a lot of my close family. As was Jesus. We were so sad to loose our wee granda. He was such a good man. A man of God who lived a good, full life and who was the perfect male role model for all the generations that followed him. His death was sad, heart breaking but we felt the presence of God and even the Joy of God with us as we all came together. 

I have felt joyful at work on many occasions...yes you heard me right at work. When you feel your cheeks burn with concentration and interest into figuring out whats wrong with someone and then making them better. Or by just holding someones hand when they are scared.

I feel joyful tonight as I spent time with friends and laughed a lot.

I have struggled a bit with my mood over the past year. Possibly linked to stress and tiredness but I have found that something that I really need to keep close to God. Yet even on those low days when you could just lie in bed and not face the world I find it so amazing that God has grace and we can still know that it will be OK. We still have Joy even if our faces don't say it.
I love it though when my face radiates joy and God. you don't need to look in a mirror you can just tell that he is burning in you and its bursting forth.

As I choose to spend time with God and people who love him. As I serve others and give myself away, as well as looking after my health and my mind I can sense the deep Joy of God inside.

As women and maybe this applies to guys too our looks and weight....the list is endless can sometimes effect our joy...when we feel like we are having an ugly day or we don't feel good about ourselves. This is something that unfortunately comes with our flashiness. Maybe when we are old and grey we will drop all that and just be content when we realise it doesn't really matter that much. We need balance. We need rest. We need work and fun. We need good times and to a degree hard times. Above all we need the Joy of God to be our strength like a huge tunnel that runs under our lives that we can walk through even when things pile up..
Joy and happiness are not the same but they are lovely in combination. Joy though is the part that we can rely on. Its strong and firm and it wont move from under us with circumstance.