Meet the Author's Author

Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

When Memories Journey...

Standing in the cold, hands in my pockets with cars splashing past, I gaze up at the inky blue sky.

No stars are out, for it's heavy with clouds. Kinda hard to believe that the shortest day has come and gone. Soon, though, the difference will start to show. Six long months of waiting, and light will come again. Light will always come again...until the Light of the World comes to outshine it forever.

It's a night like any other. The X51 is late. It's always late recently, and my skin is a grey-purply-white shade when it arrives at the bus stop, 20 minutes after me. I'm in jeans and a jumper, like I would be any other dress down day before Christmas. "Days of Elijah" is on repeat and I'm having a hard time not singing aloud.

Thoughts are busy romping in my head though. Cause this is the last night I shall ever travel home on the X51 from work.
I glance up the street as I board the bus.
Emotions are mixed as I prepare not only to change my travel, but also to leave my home of two and a half years and my hometown. It may be a rough place, Walsall, but I was born and raised there. Funny how attached you can get to little things. Little things...that often stay permanent, longer than people. But even those little things change, reduce to smaller, and you're left with fragments of a life...a doll from the prize table...a fragment of metal from Brunel's SS Great Britain...a tattered Bible from Sunday school.

That's another thing I'll be leaving behind...the church where my parents ran Bethany Christian Fellowship for eleven years was just around the corner from where we've been living.

The memories connected are definitely not all pleasant. But they are nothing I am...leaving without...nostalgia.

I started waiting for the guy I love just after my parents split, when we were living on my sister's living room floor.
I have walked the streets of this neighbourhood and travelled this path to work in tears, in pain, in numbness, in joy and wonder and Godfilled awe.
These..
This. God has...been very good to me.
It's very fitting...that my wait started around the time I began living here, and has ended just before I left. To start another part of life...

Passing the place where the bus stops near my twin brother's home. I'm tempted to get off the bus to visit him, to get off the bus and trot down the little twisty country lane, all dark with puddles. But not tonight, I think.

No, I'm going to get off at the pub and walk the forty five minutes walk home. I want to retrace the paths where I've wept and cried before God, where He has walked and talked and brought comfort to me...to pass over the Delves Green, the place where I've taken so many prayer walks, stopped to dwell on the sunsets and let peace sink into my soul, read the word, talked with kids who were rough and lighting fires but kindly and interested and lonely.

Walking down this path, smelling of damp earth and pungent leaves, I recall the first time I met Andrew Abraham and walked him to the bus stop, stopping on the way as I cried on his shoulder while telling him my life story.
So many memories...I'm in no hurry to get home tonight.

Time I walked down here, high after kissing a boy, rebelliously happy in my fight to stop the pain of waiting. Oh, I struggled so much waiting. Did I learn, truly learn that lesson of waiting on the Lord? I pray so.

I would love to cut the corner over the grass as I've done so often in my bare feet, slipping my shoes off until I got back to the concrete, but it's too muddy. It's been raining too hard today, and my shoes have holes in them, and I still have the walk across the Delves Green yet.

No, I'm in no hurry to get home tonight, for I will never walk this path again.

CCM playing in my left ear, the wind rushing past my right and the noise of cars passing...life..moving on...
"As Your will unfolds in my life"..."and as I wait, I'll rise up like the eagles"...

The noise of an aeroplane overhead makes me glance up to the glowy lights overhead. Yah...from my first flight to America in June 2011 to my fourth in October 2013, and all three flights to Ireland, all trips have started from here.

Oh, what a walk and trial of faith it's been. It is.
Even now, leaving everything I've known. It's a new step of life. A new era.

My heart is full tonight. I'm going to share the rest of this walk with my Best Friend, Father and Lover, Who's walked this path with me before and will also walk the next one.
Memories get tied to walks, but there's always a new walk, and never a reason not to take the only One who will always be with you along.

___

I step inside the door, shoes muddy, splattered a little with raindrops from the trees and other things dripping overhead. The joy of communion and knowing the presence of God reflects joy and peace into every ounce of my soul til I feel like I'm glowing, even though I know I'm not.
I start collecting the boxes and bags, taking some into my room and beginning to fold clothes into them.

The end of an era. The start of another. Life with God is always an adventure.

It's never going to be pain free. But pain separates me more and more from the things of this world and turns my eyes to Him.
And it's also never going to be Godfree. That I can count on.

I have lost so much.
But I've gained so much in return. A love that never fails. A Father Who always protects. A brother Who always looks out for me.

This is my God, and I will worship Him. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

"The secret of life is letting go,
The secret of love is letting it show...
This journey of life is a search for joy,
This journey of faith is following You
Every step of the way,
Through the joy and the pain...
All my days are in Your Hands.
Holy is our God,
Holy is Your Name,
Mighty are Your works and deeds and
Wondrous are Your ways,
For all that You have made
Shall return and give You glory, Lord."


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lord of Time (Guest Post)

This Wednesday many of you will be eagerly looking forward to an exciting event because it is an event that only happens once a year. A story about a man that came, not of this earth, but from the heavens, to save mankind from peril. A man who died and was resurrected into a form not recognised by his followers. A man who came to heal the world from evil and give us all a unity and hope for the future.

Yes. That’s right. We’ll see the airing of the New Doctor Who Special this Wednesday…

But it’s also the day we celebrate the birth of the First Doctor. The one that came to heal the world. To fix the peril, not from an alien robot, or a weeping angel, but from mankind itself. From our disobedience that resulted in sin. He came into a world that was suffering, and still is suffering, to fulfil the prophecy of a saviour. He literally healed the sick, like a doctor in the conventional sense of the term, but he didn't use bandages or syringes. He didn't even use a sonic screwdriver.

He just used faith.

And the reason he did it was not even to heal their illnesses, but to demonstrate to mankind the power of faith. He taught us that even a really tiny mustard seed of faith is enough to move mountains. Faith has more power than any TARDIS can handle. No amount of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff can match it’s awesome power. Faith in Him and His Father leads to power that truly transcends time and space. The Father knows what you ask of Him even before you say it.

He is the true Time Lord.

The first doctor didn't need to save mankind every year, from the latest peril, from the latest attack of alien threat. Not from the Starship Titanic crash landing into Buckingham Palace.

He did it once on a cross. It is finished.

He used His body, He gave it to us as a gift. He let Himself be sacrificed. His blood was spilled to wash away our sins. Through this covenant He has given us the gift of eternal life.

Every tree has His special gift waiting for you. All you need to do is use the power of faith to unwrap it. Believe in Him, confess your faith in Him, repent from and turn away from your sin and you can have this free gift too.

The First Doctor, the true Time Lord is Jesus Christ. I thank God that we have His birthday to celebrate this Wednesday. While I certainly enjoy the entertainment we get to watch, I truly hope and pray that anyone reading this will have so much more excitement for His coming than for the fiction that airs on television this week.

~Benjamin Skan

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tidal Waves

So...as predicted, I'm not doing too well. At all.

Though the surface is doing nicely and will continue to do so. However, the cracks are there. I'm not posting this for any sympathy, so please don't give me any. I just wanted to let you know that my blog is going to continue, as I'm fighting to see God's Hand in all things still, and I will be posting a blog post from about two weeks ago at some point which is when I was still numb with shock.

Currently, I feel like I'm in a little rowboat, seeing a gigantic wave from a tsunami bearing towards me. I'm rowing frantically trying to get away but all I can see is the wave and...yah.
That's probably the best description. ;)

This has seriously been the worst blow of my life. I did not trust or respect my father or brother, so that was never lost before, but this time, that has been destroyed too. Prayers are really appreciated.


Life moves on; it's nearly Christmas, and Mom got married yesterday. I'll try and post a couple of official photographs as soon as we get them.
Here's one snap of me with my two best girlfriends in the UK, Sarah and Stephanie and Catherine, who is...also close. XD
We sized off for this one, so from front to back: Sarah, me, Catherine and Stephanie.
Thank you very much to Lisa! <3



Stick close to God. He is worth it. No matter the price. (I'll see that again soon.)

Love in Him,
Siân

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

In Search of a Song

In Search of a Song was a book I owned in my early teens. It's the story of Jennie and Stephen, two young people who moved to a tiny town called Jaffrey. Both of them rebelled initially against the move, but they met, formed a friendship through this and started to learn contentment together in the Lord's plan. Other characters help them towards this too.
Jennie, of course, falls for Stephen, though it's a tiny subplot and not at all the heart of the story. It's neatly and unobtrusively woven in. Stephen goes away to school and Jennie stays at home.

Right towards the end of the book, Stephen's sister, Julia, tells Jennie of a girl called Laurie who Stephen's been getting close to and taking out at school.
Stephen has a short soliliquay about how much Laurie and Jennie are alike, but the differences in Laurie which draw him to her romantically make Jennie only a special and dear sister to him.

Laurie is brought home to meet Jennie and shares her room. The girls get along great, Laurie bubbly and telling Jennie about all the things Stephen's done for and with her, and Jennie's sitting there smiling, with her own memories. She eventually learns to even submit this to the Lord, but it doesn't go into too much detail and the epilogue is quite short, making me think that perhaps the author went through this situation themselves and still found it too painful a memory to deal with.

I didn't handle the book very well at the time, because I could well imagine the kind of massive pain that would bring and the fear entered my heart that this situation would be one I would be called to face. As it sorta is now, which perhaps is part of the reason I've cut the guy so entirely from my life.

I found the book again today, and, ignoring the ache inside, flipped to that last short section, where Julia tells Jennie that Stephen's bringing Laurie for a visit.
Here's a short quote from it.
"Jennie well knew that the measure of her acceptance of anything hard in her life would be directly related to the measure of her trust in God."


Someone asked me what God was doing with all this.
He was teaching me to trust Him. With my deepest emotions. With the essence of my heart. With the place I was most vulnerable, with the person I was most vulnerable to.
That's what happens when you let God have your love life.
Nothing is to be ours. Not even those closest to our hearts. Not even the emotions deepest to us.

Christ must be Lord of All, or He is Lord of nothing. It is something I've known from childhood, but until experienced, it stays that way.

Keep going. Keep open to Christ. Allow Him access. The pain will be turned to beauty. Christ is worth it - the Only One worth it. Through the fire, like gold refined.
Keep. Trusting. On.



In Him,

~Siân

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Echoes of Pain

Staring blankly at the screen, or out the window, coming back to myself with the realisation that the words are pounding through my head; "He's gone. He lied. Like all the others. And he's never coming back. He's gone. Forever." Biting down on my lip to escape the moan as the tears well up in my eyes again. I grab the mouse and click onto the next comment, head held proudly, not going to let the row of colleagues sitting facing me see my grief.
Too late.
The tears splash down my face, making sharp cracky sounds as they hit the paper I'm working from. Ash, my colleague next to me, laughs a bit uneasily. "You were crying yesterday. Isn't that enough now?" He's half teasing, I know.
I answer with a half smile, "For a broken heart? Na. I'll be crying for many days yet."
"Many days...?" He let his voice trail off.

Yeah, not many people are getting this. "It's just normal boy/girl stuff," they say. "Three years? He wasn't worth it." Yes, he was. He was the best guy I'd ever known and God told me to wait. That was enough. But it rooted it so, so deep.

I realise I'm crumpled on the desk, my arms held tightly around me, realising that no one can hug me knowing what's going on in my head again. "He'll never hug you again..."
Dawn in front of me is saying urgently, "Siân, do you want to take a little walk?"
I shake my head no, and sit up, clicking away on the comments, cleaning their grammar, punctuation and spelling as fastidiously as usual.

I'm working well today. The breakdowns come every two hours or so. Despite the little sleep last night, I'm not at all tired as I usually am. Sometimes, I can sit there and crack a joke with the guys, wondering at the numb deadness inside. Then it hits again. A random check-up on a company that has a base in his city.
"He's gone. Forever."

Control-Alt-Delete. Lock workstation. Toilet, quickly. Before I...
I'm doubled over before I even reach the toilet door. The floor. The hands clamped to my mouth so no one hears. At least, not so much. The sick, tight feeling in the pit of my stomach and I knew I was going to vomit, but I'd eaten nothing. Can't eat. Don't want to. Can't drink. Don't want to. Vomiting nothing...and the taste of cleaning fluid...and oh, God....will it ever stop?
I force a stop. Splash my face with cold water. Glare at my eyes in the mirror. Beg God to stop or dull the pain long enough for me to carry on working. And go back. Stepping firmly on the floor. The military walk that you keep your chin up when your insides are spilling out and no one's there to catch them.

They all care so much. My manager, Steve, sits with me for ten minutes and tells me it will pass, I will heal. Krissy takes me into a room and puts her arms around me and holds me, rubbing my back while I shake, near screams into her shoulder. Telling me about her own life. Stephen, my best mate at work, trying to touch my hand gingerly, but no, no. I need to be alone. Wounded animals don't want people around them. They need to hide. Need to be alone. I'm pushing back...don't want to talk to people. Don't want to hang out anywhere. At least I'm being honest with myself for now.
And soon I'm going to start that...weaving that web...that cave...so my heart can lie hidden and start to mend and people think I'm fine a lot sooner than I will be.

It hurts to breathe. So much. When the loudness of people around me shows up the silence so much. I realise there's this great pain inside and I stop breathing for a few seconds. It eases. Then I have to breathe again. Why do I have to breathe?
My scarf is supposed to keep my neck warm...instead, it's just soaking up my tears. Constant tears. They'll stop. That's what I'm scared of. The getting numb. I daren't look ahead more than the next day. The future is so black. So very, very black.


Today is the third day, considering he told me the morning of the first (5am). So I'm counting full days. I don't remember most of them. I doubt I will remember them in the future. The most painful times in my life are usually extremely blurry months.

The last two days have been the best. In the middle of the shock, the agony and the tears and vomiting and ceaseless breaking down? Yep. Because God at least enabled me to see the preparation He'd made for this.

Like the three-month break, without which I could never, ever have survived him being gone now...gone forever. I can't accept that yet. Some day, I will. I have to.

Like the fact that in the last eight months, I started to actually have ideas about what I wanted to do, and, in preparation in case something like this happened, although I prayed and cried and hoped it would not, I made a secondary back up plan of "career girl" so I wouldn't fall into hopeless despair.

Like the fact that, despite the agony this brings...and God alone knows, for He suffers it too, that it is one of the greatest pains in the universe - and I only have a small sample next to Him...that I am deeply thankful He has answered my prayers of three years. The waiting was literally killing me. I think that's why He chose to give me this. A sudden stab to the heart, as I said four years ago to him, is better than a knife being left, twisting, in the wound.


All that said and done, I have now to face the battles ahead. The despair and doubt I am sure will come. The attacks internally and externally as I try to figure out where God wants me now, and whether He still wants me to wait - on Him. Not to go around looking for another guy, but to continue to love and pray for him as long as He deems fit.
Mr C. won't come back. There aren't miracles that God can't do, but there are miracles God won't do.
I blame myself for it, but that's another story and I'm not willing to share the darker side of this here. Not yet. If ever.

I found this on Blogger yesterday as I started to write this post. It struck me as oddly amusing, because this was randomly sitting at the top of my blog list (which is ordered by date). And...it should technically have been towards the bottom or on the second page.

It is funny to sit here knowing that I am in for the greatest anguish in two weeks for tomorrow - that of seeing the man I love for the last time.
Why I'm torturing myself with the song I first listened to when I flew into - with so much hope, God alone knows.
I always knew this would . Could. Happen. I never dreamed it would. And now is the greatest test of my faith as God threatens to remove the dearest person in my life forever. Do I trust His wisdom this far?


And that is a question I have to ask myself over and over. I have to keep trusting Him. He lead me through the past three years for a reason...and in a way, I'm sorta glad...(NOT happy in the slightest, but peace-joy) that I had to face this. Though I wish, honestly wish, really wish...yeah. I won't say it because of the verbal chastisement many of you would give me that I wouldn't listen to anyway.
But because...if there was ONE THING that could have snapped my relationship with God, it was this. And that fear has been constantly with me over the past three years...because people claimed I idolised him. Though I constantly brought it before God with tears and prayers and received peace that I didn't, it was still nagging - are they right? Are they right?
And they aren't.
God is carrying me even now. And that is the only reason my faith is still in Him and I'm not blaming Him for the last and only stable thing in my life completely going under. Because it's not His fault; His will is perfect and His Hand is sure.
I love him. I pray for him. And I know God's still going to do His Work within him - and with me - because He promised that He Who began a good work within us will bring it to completion.


Walking down the road, tears spilling down my face and choking back sobs. Again. "Daddy..." but that name hurts too much. "Father...please. My heart. It's been broken. Again. Only You don't drop it. Only You don't find it worthless, when it comes down to it. Please hold it. Hold my bleeding heart with Your Hands that bled for me."
The glints of sunlight catch me in the face, piercing, peeking through the clouds. Tears that hang trembling on my lashes are suddenly turned into rainbows. I want to photograph it, catch the image, but I realise they're my rainbows. Only I can see them. The pain turned into beauty.
God never meant or wanted pain to happen. But He always turns it into a thing of beauty.
"Keep going, Siân. There's hope...only in God. But that's still hope."
The seconds of my life tick away as I scribble.

Seconds that bring me closer to Home. No more pain. No more tears. No more broken hearts. And I can curl up in that special place He's keeping right by His foot, and rest forever.

~Siân

Monday, November 25, 2013

Today is the Day

Today is the day I learn what the last three years of fire have forged the girl into.

Today is the day I discover exactly who I define myself to be.

Today is the day I find out exactly where my relationship with God stands.

Today is the day I take the first step in the second life I forged for myself.

Today is the day I make choices and close doors.

Today is the day I take the ring from my finger and see exactly what I do with myself.

Today is the day I learn how to breathe without exploding into tears.

Today is the day I have a new name and a new soul.

Today is the day I learn to live with half a heart.

I am Siân Garner-Jones.
I am 21 years old.
I was born in Walsall and I live in the UK.
I am the daughter of a paedophile and exploited by many other guys.
My heart has been broken twice.
I am The Survivor.
God comes first, now and always. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
I live without regrets.
And no one gets in my way.
And no one dies today. Now or ever.
I am The Fighter.

~Siân

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Parental Godhead (Part 2)

Some of you readers may remember that last year in October, I posted a blog called, "Smashing the Laws of Pharisaical Parenthood." Today is a follow-up to that.

There is one example I can find in the Bible of parents and children in regards to marriage.

Note: I am not going off the time period that the Bible was set in, where kids were married off by their parents - which is virtually what happens today. And what's going on NOW is a control idea found in the conservative Christian churches, demonstrated in the following article, written by Caleigh Royer.

Relationships, A Series: Part One. If you start reading them, make sure you get to the end of the series before you come back with a response. :)

As many young people as I have witnessed being torn apart by parents for as trivial as an issue as, "We conflict with the father and the marriage should involve both families," when they read this article, they're always, "THIS IS SO FAMILIAR. *tears*"


Check Genesis, where Abraham's servant goes to find Rebekah.
Her parents don't TELL her what to do. They say to her, Will you go with this man? She made that decision.
They didn't stamp their foot down because it was too far, because they would more than likely never see their daughter again, they didn't know the guy for years and they only had his word for it Abraham was alive and that he even had a son.
They asked her if she would go.

Parents are there to lead when we are children and to guide when we are older, but as adults, they _do not_ have the right to tell us what decisions we make. They can give us advice, and pray for us, but what is between us and another person is between us, that person and God at the end of the day.

If two young people are earnestly and truthfully seeking God in relation to whether they should start a relationship together, then God will guide them. Sure, parents, close friends and family should be supporting them with prayer, but those prayers are not the deciding factor.

When a relationship is started, and sometimes even before that, when the bond is formed, hearts will be involved. It's all very well saying that you won't choose to love until you start walking down the aisle, but I'd like to propose love doesn't have an on-off switch. In itself, it is a bond - the bond.
Love can vary in depth and degree, but it is, or should be, always there.

So hearts are very fragile. And are going to get damaged, be bound together - or be smashed.

The Bible describes marriage as a man leaving his father and mother, cleaving to his wife and the two becoming one flesh. A new family is started. A family lead by the man - not by his parents or her parents.
The parents may have influenced who the young people are, but the parents are not those two people.
The act of pursuing a relationship means - or should mean - that a man and a woman are ready to commit to that and start their own family. They take advice off everyone, for sure, but no one decides who or who not they marry. That decision is between God and them. That also means that no one has the right to end the courtship. Apart from those two. Courtship is a time where people learn to grow - together.

If the relationship is started by the parents' allowance, guided by the parents' control and the marriage allowed (by a miracle :P) by the parents, then what's going to happen when suddenly the two young people find themselves together and the parents are, "Well, it's over to you now"? It's hardly failsafe. Unless, of course, the parents start controlling the marriage, which at the best is going to end in friction and misery and at the worst will end in divorce.

Courtship is designed to lead towards marriage. The act of two sinful imperfect beings coming together before God to help each other towards God.
Neither of those two people are perfect - and t'would be a great pity and problem if one of them was. True love is where those imperfections are seen and both young people come together to help each other fight them and grow towards God. The key word being together. If they truly love each other, they will love both the good AND THE BAD. Not in spite of the bad. And will try to help each other grow towards God.

Any problems brought up by the parents should be examined independently by the young people - not just accepted as a reason to end the relationship. As previously said, both of them are sinners. Only one person in the relationship/courtship/marriage is and will be perfect, and that is God.
When hearts are engaged, it's owed to both of them for this to be independently examined.

Attacks are never nice and, coming from the people closest to you, they are the most painful, mind twisting and terrifying. Believe me, I know.

True love isn't an emotion and can never be put away lightly. Sometimes you can almost hate the other person and yet, you are still called to love and ask God for grace to keep loving.
When the storms hit home, it's when real love is put to the test. It's when you make the choice to stand together, fight together and grow stronger together, or when you pull apart, leave two broken hearts and a smashed relationship and scars.
Neither choice is pretty. Neither choice will be pain free and both choices are incredibly hard.

Satan is the author of confusion and who least wants godly marriages working out these days? I'm pretty sure it isn't God.


Be careful. Love God. Choose well. But remember - it is your choice, and yours alone.

In Christ,
Mademoiselle Siân

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Leafy People (including Jared)

A leaf is a pretty small thing. It grows on a tree early in the year, sticky green with newness. It absorbs chlorophyll from the sunlight all year, providing shady dappled cover. In the autumn, some leaves have one blaze of glory before they turn brown, crinkle and drop to the ground. There they lie until they rot, grieved by some who, in the winter, miss their symbolism of summer sunshine and trampled carelessly by most who only curse their slipperiness. It leaves a mark on the tree, though - a leaf scar where it once quivered and danced. No other leaf can grow there.

Leaves have the majority of their moments of glory when they're in unusual situations. When they're squished in a pile of heavy books to preserve their beauty...when they're bedecked with lacy ice in a sudden frost...when cast on the bonfire and suddenly the blaze of light is pouring out of the holes for seconds before it shimmmers into shreds and the light burns brighter...when dancing on the tangled threads of a spider's web bedecked in morning dew droplets.


Humans are like that too. We are born and everyone is excited over us for the first few moments of life. Then we grow up, working steadily, doing all the things that an average person is expected to do. Sometimes in the autumn of life, rich with the nutrients of the tree and our days spent on the branch, we bloom out into a sudden haze of glory. That moment done, we slowly crumple to the ground.

Our moments of glory come in the unusual moments - in the pain of a smashed family, through a time of abuse, from moments of intense, agonising pressure.
The situation isn't beautiful, but the leaf is.
It's not what we would have chosen, it's just where we are.

But we aren't like the leaves in some things.
We don't have to crumble in the burning of the fire, or break under the sharp shards of the ice.
Our Tree is still holding us, whether we're in a natural lifespan or an unnatural one.

We could be all nobodies. We could easily be replaceable to God. But He has chosen to make us each for an individual purpose, if we will let Him. He has chosen to bear the individual leaf scars - the nail scars in His hands.


Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?


In His Name,
Mademoiselle Siân

Friday, November 15, 2013

My Life is Useless

When you're patrolling the daily pattern...

And no one seems to be bothered about your plans...

Life moves on for everyone else...

You feel forgotten and put on the shelf...

Like everyone's left you behind and judged you into a box of useless...

You think God's finished with you...

When you start to let yourself believe that your life is done and you've served God's purpose...

Has He finished with me now?


God bless,
~Siân

Monday, November 04, 2013

Temptation

So Mandisa is playin' and my fingers are a'clickin' and my mind is a'whirlin' and I canna' sit still more'n a minute. :P

Well. Sort of.

I decided to do NaNoWriMo this month...on top of the whirlwind rush which comes with five weekends left to your mother's wedding...six to Christmas.
On top of moving house, packing one room and unpacking the other (I'm SO thankful I get to do this slowly so I can sort through my possessions! It's just so hard to throw away.)
On top of work.
On top of overtime.
On top of shopping and mince pies and marzipan fruits and putting the decorations up.
On top of starting to sort out social media (though I think I shall leave the main whack of that until after the New Year - when I'm jobhunting. :P )
On top of my mind thinking and thinking and planning my year ahead and actually...seeing a light at the end of the tunnel which doesn't seem to be the train heading straight for us.

NaNo is probably not the best idea I've ever had, and probably not the best time in life I could have had it. However. I really want to write again. I mean, REALLY want to write. And this is more like a trigger being pulled than anything. I don't think I'll hit the word limit. But I developed a story plot in two and a half hours and I have a novel idea. (BAD PUN.)

Running four chats, thinking about my autobiography, about to start typing up the bit of NaNoWriMo I started today, starting the clearing of the debts God graciously provided through the car accident, clearing emails, keeping FB under control, clearing Twitter, thinking about packing my room up this week.

I still have to write up some of my adventures in the USA for you, though some are - and will be - too soul shifting for me to share.
I could probably scrape my heart open if it didn't involve other dear people as well, though, so. Yah.
To be honest, the Lord hasn't finished even now. I was expecting a cessation of heart wrenching when I got home, but it hasn't yet. I think there's some deep stuff He has to sift even yet. Somehow that doesn't surprise me.

So with all this glowing gloriously before me, and my precious notepad jotted with everything I must do in it to the side (ridiculous things, including reminding me to trim my nails and remind Mom about something :P) life sounds so devotedly easy.


But there is a dark lurking monster on my left. Two. One is big and rectangular and perched magically on the wall. The other is long and slim and rectangular and lying flat on the table. It has some pretty coloured buttons on it and IF I press three buttons, a Timelord and his TARDIS will whirl into my life.

And I can't tell you how tempting it is. :P

But.

I've watched Doctor Who before. And this is a quiet spell I don't usually get. So. DELIVER US FROM THE TEMPTATION OF TV AND 'TROLS AND TIMELORDS AND TARDISES.

Amen.

In fun and in Christ,
~Mademoiselle Siân

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The American Journey - And Grace Will Lead Me Home (Interlude)

Hey everyone!

I realise it's been a while since I've been doing the promised updates, and honestly, I am trying to write them down for you and salvage the memories, especially of the four day road trip with Matt and Kiehl, the people we saw (Kellyn Post, Theodora, Grace DeBusschere, Laura and Daniel's wedding, Emily Audirsch, Jay Lauser, Taylor Weller) and the final few days in Washington.

It has been an _amazing_ blessed relief and growing time. God's Hand is clearly visible in both growing, learning and preparing me for what was to come. Which is the part I'm in now.

I will try to update you, but to be honest, at the moment, God is deeply moving in the depths of my heart and the things that are dearest to me. I cannot...share some things without betraying others' secrets - including my own - or sharing dreams of delicate and wispy substance which may or may not be fantasy...and thus, as well as being deeply emotionally stirred and spiritually challenged with trusting, letting go and peace in God, I'm unable to update right now.

I will, particularly in quiet times and on the journey home, attempt to scribble down some update of facts of those days - and piece together some fragment or shape of these days to share. I honestly wish I could share this journey with you, because while being intensely shaking and sometimes, it would be intensely painful if God hadn't wrapped me in what I can only describe as a defense bubble, it brings me intense joy and peace beyond...comprehension.

It's a peace I've fought for with long and hard prayer...a peace my friends have fought for alongside me.

To be sure, the pain is still there - I'm aware of it - but it's not...hurting. I keep consistently trying to hand the emotions back to God as soon as I recognise them.

I pray you continue to hold me before the Master's throne, and that He will see fit to hear and grant an answer to my prayer.

In Him,
Mademoiselle Siân

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The American Journey - In the Circle of His Promise (Part 3)

As we started the descent into Newark Airport, I was looking out of the window onto the clouds and saw outlined on the clouds several times, the shadow of the aeroplane surrounded by the circle of a rainbow.

It was comforting, as scared as I was of Customs and security again, and as worried and confused as I am over the decision I have to make. God had provided for me to get exactly to where I was, and there was His promise on the clouds - and I was in the centre.

Walking through the airport, I was next to a British chap and his lady friend who nearly tripped me up accidentally with his suitcase and we were making jokes about it down to Customs. Then we hit the queue...
I kept watching the video while we moved slowly but steadily through the rows, thinking about last time and praying constantly.

Finally, I got to the officer, Laslo. It was...amazing. The first thing he did was ask me if I'd worn my USA tshirt especially for the occasion, which I answered, yes I had as I'd already been there that year for a writers' conference. Then he commented on my dogtag...and then my Doctor Who necklace.
The rest of the conversation was filled with Doctor Who references...most of which he picked up. His arm started randomly bleeding, and he had to clean and put a plaster on it while talking to me. The telephone suddenly rang and he asked me if that was for me...and I said no, but as he may need a Doctor, it was probably for him. :D
He wasn't a Who fan though...he asked me if I liked classical or new...and he was a Walking Dead fan. And in the end? He asked me if I'd like to stamp my own passport to allow my entry into the USA, as he only let his favourite people do that. :D :D :D
Never a question about money. GOD IS SO GOOD!!!

Finally, picking up my blue suitcase....entering the USA...and onto handing the suitcase back to the right place...praying desperately for it to make the right destination as I put it in a pileup of other suitcases to be picked up...then onto the next security check through. I'd landed at just gone 12 (New York time) and my next flight to San Francisco left at 2:30ish, so I was panicking somewhat. Unsure where to be, I was kinda looking around for someone and wondering why God didn't send someone like He did the first year...and then realised that that had been my first trip, and I've been travelling...quite a bit since then. :P I suppose I've matured a bit. :P
I found the right queue, passed through security WITHOUT a pat down this time, collected my items and went on to find the gate. I slept through the flight, as I remember, and passed through San Francisco airport with little problem...my only memory of feelings is an overwhelming sense of relief that I hadn't got to go through any more security checks. And that of concern for a woman who was running past me sobbing...I hope she made it okay.
The ceiling of the area had planes - WWII planes, both German, British and Yank, I think - hanging from it. That was fun. :D I wasn't certain I'd got the right gate at first, but eventually figured out that I had, settled down and changed time zone on my phone and logged into the free Wifi on laptop and phone.
By this time, the tiredness hit me - and thirst. I shot a message off to Matthew begging him to bring me some water when he collected me, as I'd only had four drinks that day, and it was nearly 24 hours. Which he promised, very thankfully.

Signed in my carryon at this stop while they were still asking for volunteers...and took my laptop out, which I then carried for the reminder of the journey.

I slept all the way through to Oregon. I have no memory of that flight at all, apart from being stuck between two rather rude people. :P I was rather thankful, as it was a two hour flight and I had nothing to do apart from write...and I was extremely tired.
I remember staggering into the airport, thankful it was the last flight, and thinking that it was time to get up for work, back home.

I was so tired and befuddled looking for my luggage, I even walked past Matthew who simply followed, grinning, behind me until he spoke and I was like WUT and whirled around. Then he held out the water. And my hands were full. OUCH.

Finally we got to the carousel, and I drank that bottle in two and an eighth swallows. :P

Snapped the final photographs of Oregon at night and headed out with Matt.

Driving with Matt is...breathtakingly amazing. He takes curves at speed. It's amazing. XD :D We stopped over the Washougal River...yah. I wish my camera had a night-snapping ability. The view was fantastic.

Finally we reached his home...and I got introduced to all five of the girls...and another boy to the three I knew. It was confusing. *laughs* I remember asking if there were any more.
Phoebe showed me her room, which I'm sharing, and I...don't really remember anything else. Except I wanted to sleep. And slept.

Monday:
It was kind of awkward for all of us at first, as it usually is when totally random strangers have to get used to each other. But as the day wore on, the barriers began to collapse.
I woke in the morning to Christina (the baby) and Phoebe sitting opposite me on Phoebe's bed, with Phoebe trying to teach Christina to read - something which she eventually gave up in despair as I was creating far too much excitement for her to have any success.
Mrs Lauser came in then to offer me the use of her bathroom, and when I was dressed, she asked me to do the geography section of the homeschooling lesson - "Life in Britain" while I ate yoghurt and honey for breakfast. That was fun. :D
Phoebe was very excited to do my hair.

Joseph, Mary, Charity and Christina had a great time showing me different things. I got to try a spearmint purpley coloured drink...listen to them playing all varieties of musical instruments...carry Charity and then Mary piggyback on the tour around the house...and my word, they can do amazing gymnastics! Naomi is so flexible!

And by the way, I totally love letting the kids loose with my camera (minus battery usage). The photos they come back with are AMAZING.

I have about thirty pictures of Matt smiling or grinning or laughing on my computer. >:3

When Matt got home from work, we ended up going to see the horses...my first and hopefully NOT last wild ride without a seatbelt in the back of a pickup truck. Oh, it was awesome. Bumpy roads, hair flying, clear sharp air...
And after that? Matt took us to an open spot to the right of the house and gave me my promised shooting lesson. YAY. I GOT TO SHOOT. But I didn't hit anything. :3 Unless it was twigs at the top of the tree. Phoebe did better...she hit the target once. *grins*

Then I helped chop up some herbs? I think! For tea/supper while Matt played the piano...and Doctor Who. :3

To finish off, we played a card game where you had ten cards to make up a sentence. My last sentence was the funniest..."William Shakespeare tickled nurses early in the morning spilling slick juice." ...yep. XD

We had a fun, relaxing day. I can't help but thank God for how at home they've made me feel...and how restful it is, both in the nature around and the people I'm with.


Tuesday:
My Facebook status read: It's very amusing comparing the identities between the Lauser cousins.
Like, Nathaniel and Charity both love making things for visitors.
And the quietness extends to both sides of the family.
And Jay looks more like Mr. Mark than he does his own parents.
And Matt taught me to shoot yesterday and I had a wild ride in the back of the pickup truck WITH NO SEATBELT.
And it's one month exactly on the day I arrived here to the day I arrived in Ireland.
And I love it here. :D

Phoebe reminds me a lot of Rachel Garner...and Naomi looks like Taylor Gatley and reminds me of Grace Garner. :P It's really funny, though, the comparisons I can draw between the cousins.

I came out of the room to be offered something by Joseph that looked like mustard but turned out to be liquidated pumpkin. :D That was funny. It tasted...weird but nice!

Yoghurt with honey...and fresh coffee with honey and cream...YUM. I like my breakfasts here.

Mary made me a flower and attached it to a hairclip...so that's what I wore in my hair all day.

The rest of the day was divided between trying to clean up online stuff and pirate treasure hunts that Charity made - a map and paper treasures, such as a crown, a dog, a cat and accompanying accessories. Both sides of the Lauser family are so inventive!
I was helping to spice up the chicken when Matt came home...and then we left for the post office, the garage and finally, to meet Perry at the Olive Garden, plus Kellen, unseen baby and husband Tyler. It was an amazing time, though most of the time we were watching the baby. The visible one. ;) He was so adorable!
But then, so was Perry. :D

When I came home, we watched Doctor Who - Phoebe, Naomi, Joseph and Jacob... The Shakespeare Code. It was pretty awesome. ;)


It's so good to be here. So exciting. So different and yet...normally unnormal.

The release from the usual, daily pain is enough to let me step back and see fairly clearly how God has brought me this far, stepped back and allowed me to rest before hitting the cycle full speed again. Even the removal of some of the visiting plans has been more of a God-planned rest, because I'm a similar day-to-day cycle which is normal and restful.

To be honest, if I wasn't choosing to rest in Him, I would be using this time to be in a flat panic thinking about things that are going to hit from next week, but He's teaching me slowly but surely to give them to Him, to let go and to focus on the things to hand. And that's helping - a lot.

Yes, I'm right where I'm meant to be. In the circle of His promise. And learning the guidance of His Hand.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The American Journey - This Journey of Faith (Part 2)

Currently, I'm feeling slightly triumphant, because my earphones are working in the plane socket and I have Katherine Jenkins' beautiful voice singing Time to Say Goodbye down my ears and getting goosebumps as usual. (The Sound of Katherine Jenkins is a CD I have to get.)

I must be getting old! I slept some last night, but I was sitting in the airport with yawns splitting my face, and as soon as I got in the plane and settled down, I fell asleep, only arousing at take-off and then for lunch at around 10:30 GMT - oh, and once for pretzels. I totally missed the headphones which is why I'm feeling all clever about using my own. :P

So delighted to get a window seat on this flight. The cloud formations, the varying shades of blue and the icicles forming on the window which I can both watch and hear - these are a delight to my camera and me! :P

Unfortunately, this is the only time out of the three flights that I will actually be getting either a meal or a window seat. :P But I am blessed - blessed indeed.

To be honest, although for once this actually seems real to me and although excited, I'm rather blasé about the whole thing, in another way I have to keep questioning whether this can possibly be "little Siân Jones from Walsall" crossing the great pond by herself for the fourth time. Yes, it is, the cool side of me reassures, but even that is amazed at the Providence that brought me here.

It is strange how every mile closer to America feels like I'm going home, dearly as I love Britain, especially England and Wales. The homesick feeling has been less noticeable this year - probably due to the promise of a close return and also because I've been putting my head down to planning for the practical future instead of just dreaming about the impossible - though I've been doing that too.

I won't pretend I'm not glad to get away from Britain right now. The pressure and confusion of more than one situation was driving me crazy - and I believe the Lord granted the money at this exact point in these circumstances so I can get away, focus on Him and seeking His Will.

When I think of what would have happened if I'd been born 200/300 years ago...well, immigration would have been easier, but that's about the only thing that would have been positive. It wouldn't have taken the eight hours I sometimes complain about - nor the twenty hours I have been complaining about! *hides, shamefaced*
More like months on end, in a wooden ship, with every possibility of my dying before I got there. When/if I did arrive, I wouldn't have been met by a friend with a car, and fed, and taken to a nice comfy bed where I could finally sleep away the discomfort of a strained neck from my uncomfortable aeroplane position. I'd have had to construct my own home, fight for it against the wild animals, nature and hostile strangers (okay, maybe not as a woman but you get the drift) etc. Yes. I'm incredibly blessed.

I'm not entirely sure of the flight path, but the arc of it looks like we are going over where the Titanic sank 101 years ago.

The Titanic. Biggest architectural triumph of its time, giant metal ship which hundreds of people set out to the New World in, comforted by reassurances of designer and architect that nothing could sink the ship. Not just on earth, but in Heaven as well. "God Himself cannot sink this ship." Dangerous words. We all know where the Titanic lies now; crumbled, torn and ripped apart in pieces at the bottom of the ocean.

When man turns his gaze from the Lord of creation to worship creation, it is the most dangerous thing he could do. All creation crumbles away in the end, from man to his work, only held captive in folklore and small remnants scattered here and there, but the Lord is forever and unchanging, ever mysterious, incomprehensible, close and loving, and the same - yesterday, today and forever, long after this ink has faded, the paper rotted away and my body ceased living.

Human beings cling on so to the seen - the life they know, the visible, wanting to invent or create or change something big - to leave a rock on the beach long after the footprint has been washed out by the tide.
We are terrified at being forgotten, yet laugh at the idea of a God Who has inscribed us on the palms of His Hands. We hate change, but mock a God Who is unchanging. We pretend to love change, excitement, newness, when all we're searching for is an end to the restless longing that constantly drives us onwards. What that requires is a step of faith, but we, blind clingers on to "the fragile skin of this tiny planet", refuse to do that.

It took faith for me to be in this aeroplane flying across the seas again. I have faith in the architect who designed the plane to have made every measurement correct, for the fuel to be the exact amount it should be, for parts of the plane not to come flying off, for the windows to be the correct thickness to withstand the pressure from inside and out. The fact that I am standing on a few pieces of metal 35992 ft above an ocean in a metal can powered by engines with fuel should terrify the daylights out of me. If one thing went wrong from design to construction through to the present, I could be dead. But I barely even think about it. It's as natural for me as breathing - though a much less regular occurrence!

Breath is given to me by God, my Creator, and the intelligence of the people designing this also comes from Him.

God has brought me here at this exact moment, exact time. He ordains each of our ways, if we will only surrender them to Him and seek to know His will in every area of our lives.

The tickets were reduced - twice. Which doesn't normally happen.
The aircraft is flying.
The date was changed so I didn't have to go on the wedding day of my friends.
The money came through just at the right time.

God has provided each and every step of this journey - even to it being at the exact time of life that I needed it.

I don't pretend to know why I'm in the situation I'm in. I don't know why God's lead me this way. But I do know He's leading me. And I will follow Him - the God Who parted the Red Sea and opened the skies of America to me.

A few days ago, I was devoid of faith and hope and trust. A certain group of friends and the OYAN prayer group have been praying for me, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I would not be here in my spiritual walk without them. God bless you 1000 times over.

The fleece I have laid before the Lord will, I believe, be answered one way or another. Even if, and probably not, the way I want. Yet, although I ask if possible for the cup to pass from me, yet not my will but His be done.

"All the way my Saviour leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy
Who through life has been my guide?" ~Fanny Crosby
"This journey of life is a search for joy.
This journey of faith is following You.
Every step of the way
Through the joy and the pain,
Right here in this moment.
Take my heart,
Take my soul.
I surrender everything to Your control.
And let all that is within me,
Lift up to You and say
I am Yours and Yours alone.
Completely." ~Ana Laura

I can't say I'm happy about this journey because I'm not. I'm frankly terrified of the pain I'm 98% certain is coming.

But I'm content to know I'm following Him to the best of my ability, and in thus seeking to put Him and His Will first in my life, I am in His Will. And that, I find peace in.

Join me on this journey too. Not just the American one, but mine through all of time and space, with the Lord of time. :)

Love in Christ,
~Siân

(Written 13.10.13)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The American Journey - Crossing the Pond (Part 1)

So you read the prequel to my trip in "When the Skies Were Opened". If you didn't, go back and read it. ;)

I'm sitting in the airport at the moment, with 55 minutes until the gate opens, and since I've used one hour ten minutes clearing FB, I figured I'd catch you up on this.

Getting home from the wedding last night, I slept until midnight when the parents came to bed and woke me to start packing properly. By 4:15, I'd managed to pack my suitcase (shock one) and sort most of my paperwork (shock two). But I still had to wash my hair...if you know my hair you know what I mean...and wake Mom and George at 4:30.

I opted for the hair first and bounced in the shower...to Mom pounding the door at 4:55 in terror as I was drying it with a towel. (See, I'd said we had to leave at 5. :P)

Ready to go...and the butterflies started. Sorta. More like a horrible tight clenching in the pit of my stomach.

The reasons why?

On my previous flight to the USA in June, I was nearly turned back at the border due to lack of money on me (I'd forgotten I had my credit card). But God was good and the lady was in a good mood - and I passed through.
And on my previous flight - to Ireland - I missed the flight.

Consequently, I was downright scared.

Plus some other personal things happening right now, a fleece put out for the Lord and I was even more nervous, since this time is to get away from a situation and pray and seek God and I honestly am not sure where He's going to take me.

More scaredness. :P

I was rattling away to Mom all the way to the airport...so nervous I could barely eat the food I was forcing myself to swallow (as in my 28 hour day today, I will only get one meal on the planes >.> )...and reciting Scripture after Scripture on trust, waiting...patience. God promising peace, guidance, wisdom.

We reached the airport at 6, despite the near half-hour late start. Mom and George walked me into the airport, George helping with the suitcases, but the check in was actually still closed.
They then left with hugs and wishes for a good time.

As soon as they'd gone, the check in opened, and I headed over to the queue already formed. The nice security guy ripped off my previous flight tags for me...and then this lady came over, bypassing the group in front of me, and started asking me all the security questions. After that, she put a sticker on the back of my passport and the nice security guy lead me to the Premium queue. O.o
It took a while to get through.

I always quake with fear over the weight of my luggage, the weight of my carry-on, the liquids and gels thing at security, my luggage not getting to the final destination...yah. Lots of prayers going up. Fear is a horrible enemy to me. ;)

Finally it was through, and my blue suitcase disappeared with a prayer following it on the conveyor belt. I guess I'll see it in Newark, where I have to check it in again. Lord willing. :P

Then security...the fella behind the conveyor belt was nice. I've learned over the past three years that as soon as you get behind the last person in the queue, start stripping. (Not...that literally.) And keep doing it while you're moving forward. You get through quicker. Taking your laptop out while moving is a feat I still have to learn to conquer.

The red light would bleep as I went through the body scanner. *sigh* I hate being patted down. Invasion of my space. V_V Go away. XD Very thankful that ladies do it for ladies though!

The feeling of relief as soon as I'd gathered my personal belongings and settled them in their own places and was walking through the pretty duty free area - and dodging the people standing there - was very big.

So thankful I got through it safely.

You know, with all of the constant recital of Scripture and prayer against the overwhelming fear (and when I mean overwhelming...I mean overwhelming)...I was still very scared (silly as it may be) but I was focusing through that...onto the Lord. I couldn't FEEL Him as such, but I knew He was there.

Perhaps, getting through the dark situations is not just the Light coming into it and blazing the darkness away, but is also reaching out in the darkness to grasp the Hand with faith.

And the gate has opened. I'll see you guys on the other side, Lord willing.

Love you,
In Christ,
~Siân

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Authoressing

When people ask me what I am, among the first words I use to describe myself is "author" or "writer".

"Oooh! What do you write?"
"Well, historical fiction mostly, started a bit of fantasy and my own autobiography." (That last usually gets a lot of laughter!)
"Are you published?"
"Well, sort of, yes."
"Are you going to write a book about BMG? (My workplace)"
I have to laugh at that one.
"Maybe," because all experiences can be used.
Then they go off into detailed descriptions of how I could use certain people and feature them and hide names, etc.


So why am I writing this? Because I was thinking about it the other day. As life has gone on, and my friends and I have grown up, I am technically no longer recognised as an author in writing circles. I have little time in the current scheme of live to do more than scribble a few lines here and there, a few story ideas to be worked on when I hit that wonderful stage in life (Lord alone knows when that'll be - I've an idea I'll be still trotting around in my eighties!) when I have "some spare time".

I'm coming to the long-awaited but important conclusion though, that I'll never have "spare time" to indulge in writing, like it's a hobby. It isn't a hobby. It's a core essence of who I am. Why else would stories and characters and people come dancing through my mind, calling out to me, and why else do I use it as part of an introduction as to who I am?

My writing has changed. It's been on the back burner for several years now - apart from my blog.

I'm no longer the little girl of eight, sitting on the old squishy orange carpet hidden safely behind the pulpit platform at Bethany, staring down at the paper and trying to express the childish stories in my head.
I no longer create characters and then try and write a dance for them.

People are my characters. People are my study. My main focus is on people - delightfully intricate, intensely 3D, wildly spinning and tangling people. Lives of webs and weaving, glories of colour and depth.

And these people are where I draw my characters.

I see a man in a crowd. Perhaps he gives me a glance, a half hesitant smile on a thin, sad face in response to my own. A story is born.
A woman pushes a pushchair, trying desperately to marshall three other children past with six massive bags hanging off on all sides. She becomes a character with a side story.

People are characters. And characters are people. And life...is...pain. But. Very Beautiful. Simply from the intrinsic depths of the colour, and the glory, and the wealth of living, and the God Who made life.


In Christ,
~Mademoiselle Siân

Sunday, October 06, 2013

When The Skies Were Opened

Oh my gosh. I'm actually going.

That was pretty much my reaction Wednesday night when Mom, oh so casually, directed George to also casually place an envelope containing the exact amount of money I needed to pay for my flight to America.
Of course, it shouldn't have been any more than a little nice surprise, but it was. Because all the jigsaw pieces had to fall into the right place at exactly the right time.

I think it started back at the beginning of this year/end of last year. Mom promised me that because of my helping out with some of the bills, she would gift me a trip to America when the money came through. I had two choices - the OYAN Winter Workshop, or Laura and Daniel's wedding. I chose the wedding.

Which meant that when the date was set, the money would have to be through. I plotted out the trip, and asked Mom if I could take an extra trip - yes, all okay. Then the money didn't come through. Because the solicitors had to sort it out. Etc, etc. Poor Mom, every day a Siân-who-was-trying-to-be-very-calm-and-nonchalant would ask casually, "Have the solicitors been in touch today?" And Mom, with a rather worried expression, "No, not yet." She almost felt guilty. V_V

I went into the travel agents in July/early August. The price was the usual, around £660ish. Then I went back in three weeks ago. It had shot up to £821. Calmly I phoned Mom and told her the prices (from London it was less, but London is too far). She said that it was still fine, but I drew the line and said that if the prices went up more, I wasn't going.

It seems odd to say, but after this, a kind of calm came over me. A deep-down-hard-core inside of me was convinced that I would be going. I (more surface wise) knew that if God wanted me to go, I would go, and I trusted Him with that at the same time as the other half of me was freaking out, going, "YOU'RENEVERGOINGTOGOTHEFLIGHTPRICESAREGOINGTOGOUPYOUKNOWTHISANDTHEMONEYWILLNEVERGETTHROUGHINTIME."

I still asked, nervously, but not quite as often as I had been - though I'm sure it felt the same to Mother! And then on September 29th, she said, "It should be through this week." As she'd said that the previous week, I was still thinking, "Bleh, yeahhhh, it won't."
But I went into the travel agents on Tuesday (October 1st) to check. Would you believe it? The flight had gone down to £752. BUT. Only if I flew on Saturday, October 12th - the wedding of our friends Chris and Catherine, that I'd promised to go to. It was more expensive if I flew out on the Sunday or Monday...which I could technically have done now two friends had cancelled on my visiting them.

So Felicity held the flights for me and I went home, phoning Mom on the way. Mom said that I should check the flights before I booked to see if I could go to the wedding instead of flying out at 9am on the wedding morning.
Wednesday evening, I got in from work and passed some random remark about doing something or other - and Mom commented as how that would be rather hard, since I'd be in America. I was like..."But the money hasn't come through. I'm not going to be in America." Then she got George to drop the envelope in my hands.

Considering I'd known deep-down I was going, I was dumbstruck.

George dropped a tenner in to cover the extra £2. The next morning, I was running late and he advised me to use the tenner and buy myself a train ticket, but I decided against it (just to check the prices for Sunday/Monday) and went for the bus. I should have technically missed it - but it was two minutes later than I was, and I was later than its original time.

After work on Thursday (where I spent a delightful day telling people God had provided and watching their expressions), I went to the travel agents and sat down. Felicity checked the flights and lo and behold - the ticket prices had held.
The reason they were low is partly due to the American economy drop. >.O So I asked her to check the tickets for Sunday...and it was £765. I said I'd got £760 but I could run and get the fiver - and she said that they'd sort it and not to worry!

What really struck me as to how miraculous it was were her comments.
"You're really lucky," she said. "This never happens."
I kinda laughed, a shocked-hyper-laugh.
"I was praying!"
"Well...He definitely answered you then."

Because the price had not only lowered from three weeks earlier to that Tuesday, the price of flights on Sunday had lowered SINCE TUESDAY.

So yeah. I'm still kinda walking around in a daze, packing both for moving home and flying out to the States again...for the second time this year...a miracle I was hoping for but failing to expect.

There are still a lot of details - and important ones - that I need to work out. But I know I will walk through them one way or another and that the Lord won't fail me even now.


And oh my gosh I'm going. Like. This time next week, I'll be over the Atlantic. Again.

God is so good.

And thank you to all of you praying for me to go. I know a lot of you were, and I don't think I'd be going if you hadn't been. <3 I'll take you all with me in my heart. <3

In Christ,
~Mademoiselle Siân~

Friday, September 20, 2013

Stone Cold Anger

I'm angry. Stone cold angry.
My temper is one of the worst things I own. You know the phrase see red? Well, I literally see it.
Another well known one is don't mess with a red head. There's a reason for that.

It's caused me to flare out in tempestuous ferocity in defense of those I love and end at least one friendship terribly; one lifelong regret and a source of no ending trouble for me since.

Last night I got confirmation of something I had suspected for a long while from the freezing out I'd received from several people I genuinely liked.
My respect for them is now below zero.

What it was is not important. Why I will deal with, because as little as I expect them to read this, I want it out there in case they do.

And my anger is cold. Which is half a good thing and half a bad...good because it means I'm not flapping angrily. Bad because it's a cold fury and will therefore be the cynical, sarcastic side of me.


The main two complaints, as I understand them, are that I think I'm so wise and that I'm everybody's saviour, and that I cause problems when I try to help people.

Response to one: I hear it constantly. And I'd just like to say something. I have often professed that I am arrogant. Does that surprise you? Probably. You know why? Cause I only admit my faults to people I trust. And obviously, you aren't one of them. Sometimes I'll admit it to strangers. But it's usually only perfect strangers or people I trust unreservedly, and those are markedly few.

Perhaps I didn't trust you, but I did respect you. Throughout several reports that have filtered back to me of your backbiting in the past. Sometimes I tried to put it right, sometimes I just left it, thinking God would defend me. I still think He will, eventually, even if it's only on Judgement Day; possibly is even now.

But that's not enough to stop me posting this. Why? Because I want you to know something. I no longer respect you. And do you know what it means to drag that from me? A lot. Because I try - blamed as I've been for it and as much as I've been warned, from home to my boss at work to be more wary - to see the best in people. Even when there's not a lot of good to see. I try to see something...something worthy of respect.

But you know, it means nothing to me when your life is all respectable and your actions are not. Your position in life or in relation with those we mutually associate with means nothing to me. I find that your backbiting behind the scenes to people who barely or don't know me and discussions about me behind my back utterly and completely contemptible.

Oh...and don't forget. I haven't forgot some of you who backbit to me about the very people you're cosy with now. I haven't forgotten how you came back to me only when you had a problem with them. I never said it, because I was trying to see the good that IS there in you. But your behaviour disgusts me.

Probably my lack of respect means nothing to you. Oh good. Then it doesn't bother either of us.


Response to two will kind of end part one and absorb two: I do not think I'm everyone's saviour. WOW. I've just managed to shock you again, hopefully. (Aren't I arrogant? ;) )
I think that there are one hell of a lot of hurting people out there. I think that there are very few people trying to help them. And do you know what? I'm one of them. One of the hurting. And the reason I try to help them is because I know hope. Through Christ. And I know where they've been, to some degree. If I don't know exactly where they've been, I try to listen - and there are many people who would willingly step forward and testify to that. I don't care to call them.
And instead of standing on the side backbiting me for trying to help, you could be trying to support and pray for me.
The reason I hurt other people is because I'm hurting and I don't trust. I really. Massively. Have problems with trust. Even with trusting God. I do not trust men. And I don't trust a lot more people now, thanks to you guys.
So sometimes, I have a bad day, and it comes out in what I do and say.

There are two cases where I've damaged people deliberately, and both have seared my memory. I've apologised to both. Apparently one apology was not accepted, as post-apology actions have proved. (And just for your attention, greeting me and holding a four sentence conversation does not prove you've forgiven me. Got it? Not backbiting me would be the way to do that.)

I do not excuse myself from hurting these people. It is a source of huge regret to me.
I do not apologise for hurting people in an attempt to heal them. Sometimes wounds need to bleed to scab.
I do apologise to those I have hurt unintentionally when trying to help. Sometimes I want to help and I don't know how, and the awkwardness makes it hard. Especially when I'm afraid - yes, afraid - of how you'll take it.

One of you complained that I only care about people when they're injured. That I pull away when I can't help any more.
I can't heal you. I'm struggling to heal myself.
All I can do, all I want to do, all I try to do - is be there when you cry, hold you, listen to you, pray for you, love you, point you over and over to Christ, tell you what He's done. Even this blog was a purpose for that - to encourage people and point them to Christ as they watch His moving in my life. Which apparently has been translated into "Sian thinks she knows everything." I just wanted to be there. Always. When you need someone to listen. Most people picked up the balance - that I have a life outside of this, that I have a job and a family and already put way too much time into the internet (something else which you condemn me for, I'm sure) - and chat to me when they need to talk, accept they can't when I can't, post messages for me to respond to when I can. I'm sorry some of you can't accept that. It's pretty hard internationally when you don't want to use Twitter's DMing system and I can't be there for phone calls and chats when you need.
But I do want to be there, as much as I can, because that's what I needed someone to be for me.

You know my best friends? Wonder how they got there? They were always there, pointing out things lovingly when reproof was needed but without shoving me under a steamroller or knifing me in the back. And I love them so much and wonder why they stick by me and I can't repay them.

People like Brendan Hanley and Kyle Johnston - managing college, jobs and hectic lives volunteering, helping other people - they are there, and they care, If I shoot them a grief torn message or a desperate plea for a hug or for prayer they respond as quickly as they can.
People like Jay - reaching out from prison in spite of the difficulties.
People like Mama Lauser, who has been a second mother to me in love, affection and in Christ - she has eight children and finds time to message me every other day, just to tell me she loves me and to keep my eyes on Christ.
People like Hana - brother in heart, sending me Scriptures or encouraging notes or loving rebukes.
People like Kristin - her life so packed out with preparing for missions, massive school and college prep, but she sends an email every time she can.
Rachel - married and holding down a job.
Yani - further time gap than most of my best friends.

These are just some of my best friends, but if you want to know what makes them my best friends, it's this. Unconditional love. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Lives. It.
They are the reasons God put in my life to keep me going. The reasons I am alive.

And that is what I want to try and do. What I want to try and emulate. They're humble. They probably are squirming while reading this and wondering what I see in them. Heh.
And they care.


Note 1: I know people who I have actually damaged. Like, spiritually and emotionally. And you know something? They still talk to me. Still trust me. Still love me. Have actually gone through it with me. Pulled away for a while. I apologised. Worked through it with me. And they still love me. Not your pathetic little kind of charity Christian love. Oh we love her but let's avoid her because she's dangerous.
They've stayed. And they haven't backbitten me.
And they have more right to than any of you. I've hurt them in ways you probably haven't even imagined.
Thank you, Kiehl Gatley. Thank you for being you, and so Godly and humble that when you heard me putting this in, you said, "But that was just a misunderstanding."

Did any of you come to me like that? Or did you start going around and spreading the poison without thinking twice?

James 3:5 - So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!


Yes. A lot of this post can be directed at me. But have you even tried?
The little and pathetic reaching out I've tried to do - I've known most of you have problems with me for several months even before the confirmation, because you spurned it, and I watched you do it. Maybe you thought I wouldn't notice, but I did.

I'm hard on myself. More than you know. Possibly why I'm defensive a lot, unless you're someone I trust - which is DEFINITELY no one this is addressed to. If I trust you, I'm more likely to consider your opinion or what you say - unless you're my Mom or the guy I love. And then any negative word cuts really deep.

Therefore, little of what's come out hurts me externally. You want to know why I sobbed myself to sleep last night and was closer to doing something stupid than I've been for weeks? Not because of what you've said. Though words sting enough.
Because of the way you said it.
You sniped at people's trust.
You found others who had doubts and said, yes, we know what she's like and you're best to steer clear of her.
You never came to me and talked to me.
You believed the people you wanted to believe.
And those of you that may have previously said something, decided that since I didn't seem to listen to you - as previously stated, I don't unless you're my Mom, the guy I love or someone I trust - you'd go sniping me behind my back.


Even now, my twisted little head says not to post this.
Because 1) I know how I would feel if this post were levelled at me.
2) Because it is likely to hurt the people who are actually tender-hearted and blame themselves for things.
3) Because the people it's aimed at are likely to find something to hide behind and throw a rock back at my head. Not to my face. Obviously.

How about dropping your rocks? Christ said for him who is without sin to cast the first stone.

But that would probably be too hard.

So therefore, I'm going to close with this little reminder.

There's a saying, "forgive and forget."
I will and have and can forgive you, once my anger is over and I've repented for it. (It keeps coming and going. Most of the time I'm telling myself that you're all right and I'm worthless - which is, I'm sure, the intended effect.)

Forgiveness for me is simple. I don't hate you. I hold no grudge against you. I am not plotting revenge. I've said all I want to say now.
And now I will forget you.
But for the pinpricks that you put in my life from time to time - and I know they will come - and the memories will hurt - I do not trust you, I do not respect you and I have nothing to say to you.

To finish with a nice little quote from Ever After: "I want you to know that I will forget you after this moment, and never think of you again."

Unfortunately not quite accurate, but it will do.

~Siân Jones~

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dragged In Kicking and Screaming

Oh yeah. I hate this.

This...thing. This trust thing.

I tried to trust. I tried to make myself trust. Through a year, I endeavored to force myself to learn trust. I kept giving my love back to God. And it hurt. And I cried. And etc.

There are times God teaches you something. And there are times when God prepares to teach you something.

Last year, He was preparing me to learn to trust, but I wasn't ready.

This year, I started pursuing surrender. I wanted to know what it really meant to surrender your love to God, because I was at my wits end.

Sorta.

I kept finding ways out. Spending days thinking through it, thinking I'd found another resting spot, another course forward.

Then there came a time where I was at my wits end. Totally. Nearly a month ago, now, surprisingly. I was...numb. Dead. In tears a lot. Completely. Dried. Up.

I was advised a course of action over a three month period, and I prayed - and took it. I'm not going into too much detail at this point in time, though I will go into more when I write it for my autobiography. Now...isn't the time to talk about it in depth.

But I did promise to write...and I know my struggles and walk have been a blessing to a couple of you.

I'm reading Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot currently, and I honestly wish I could share every single word with you. They are rich with fulness and help and hope and painful refocus.

Anyway, I'll endow this post with a few quotes - the first being the reason I'm not sharing any more of my story right now. :P

"I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one's thoughts...

(God is) A roof over our heads. A hedge. A windbreak. A warm coat. Shelter from the fear of loss of this precious thing called love, from the fear of a life of loneliness without the one person I believed I could ever love. Shelter from attack - from onslaughts of doubt that God would take care of everything if I would simply trust Him - what if He didn't?
Waiting silently is the hardest thing of all. I was dying to talk to Jim and about Jim. But the things that we feel most deeply, we ought to learn to be silent about, at least until we have talked them over thoroughly with God." (Passion and Purity, Chapter 12: Holding Pattern)

It's not been easy, so far, but God is...teaching me a remarkable path of obedience. A path of trust that I'd never thought possible.

A path of surrender.

See, I'd been trying to follow God. And it was right, but I was kinda going the wrong way. I'd started to focus on love, and not just God as He is, with all of His aspects.

Now is a time that this is being laid on the altar, where I am still called to wait and love but to sacrifice. Every time I think about him, to refocus that into prayer. It's very hard to explain and I'll leave it at that for now.

Because this post is about trust.

As I was picking the blackberries the other week, I realised how impossibly hard and easy trust is - as love is. Every time I start to think about the situation and I think what if, or, this is likely to happen, or, of course this won't happen, or, what if God has told me to do something for no reason...and I start to panic. And worry. I'm a BIG worrier. :D

And God says, give it back to me. Deflect that worry into a prayer. Let. Go. And it's so hard to let go. And...then...it's so easy. Who IS God, next to that worry? Does He hold me and what He's called me to, or not? DO I TRUST HIM, or do I think that this problem is BIGGER than God?? And what kind of blasphemy is that?

What if...some beautiful Godly woman walks into his life? *panic mode as I think of about thirty that he knows* ...oh. Hang on. God, I'm panicking about this. He's Yours, not mine. I'm Yours. And I'm just doing what I believe You've called me to. So. That's all there is to it. What happens to him is in Your plan. What happens to me is in Your plan. End of.

It sounds so darn simple. It IS so darn simple. We just like to make a big thing of it.

Come to think of it...it's the trust of a child. :)


Just to close with a few final sections from Passion and Purity.

"'What has been like water from the well of Bethlehem to you recently? Love, friendship, spiritual blessing? Then at the peril of your soul you take it to satisfy yourself. If you do, you cannot pour it out before the Lord. How am I to pour out spiritual gifts, or natural friendship, or love? How can I give them to the Lord? In one way only - in the determination of the mind, and that takes about two seconds. If I hold spiritual blessings or friendship for myself, they will corrupt me, no matter how beautiful they are. I have to pour them out before the Lord, give them to Him in my mind, though it looks as if I am wasting them, even as David poured the water out on the sand, to be instantly sucked up.' Oswald Chambers

...God gives us material for sacrifice. Sometimes the sacrifice makes little sense to others, but when offered to Him it is always accepted. What was the 'point' in God's asking Abraham for the sacrifice of his beloved son, Isaac? The story has often been attacked as 'pagan' and has been grossly misunderstood. Our offerings to Him may very likely be seen as senseless or even fanatical, but He receives them. Jesus received the precious ointment from the worshipping woman, although those present thought it a foolish waste.
...I have tried to explain it sometimes to people who are lonely and longing for love. 'Give it to Jesus,' I say. The loneliness itself is material for sacrifice. The very longings themselves can be offered to Him Who understands perfectly. The transformation into something He can use for the good of others takes place only when the offering is put into His Hands.
What will He do with these offerings? Never mind. He knows what to do." - Passion and Purity, Chapter 13: Material for Sacrifice.


"When the will of God crosses the will of man," said Addison Leitch, "somebody has to die."

...It is not that everything that has anything to do with ourselves is in itself wicked and deserving of death. It did not mean that when Jesus said, "Not My will..." There could not have been even the smallest part of His will that was wicked. It was a choice to lay down everything - the good He had done and the good He might do if He was permitted to live - for the love of God. The same choice is offered to us...

There is a big however. It is this: We are not meant to die merely in order to be dead. God could not want that for the creatures to whom He has given the breath of life. We die in order to live.

A seed falls into the dark earth and dies. Out of its death comes multiplied life. As St. Francis prayed, "It is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."
It takes faith to believe this, as it takes faith for a farmer to plant a seed. It takes faith to live by it, faith to act on it, faith to keep looking at the joyful end of it all. A failure of faith here leads certainly to resentment and then to depression. The destruction will go on and on." - Passion and Purity, Chapter 15: Little Deaths.

Faith, trust and surrender.
How intrinsically tied up together.


I'm also just going to share the message from the Sunday before last. It brought me to tears - a part of Scripture I'd never noticed. Here.


John 21:1-14
Pastor Kevin C.


The resurrection is all that is pivotal to our religion.
That is why we can say He is coming again to take us home.
Everything that Jesus did from birth to death was deliberate – a divine and holy plan. The times that Jesus showed Himself to the disciples had a purpose.

First – the men on the sea.
Matthew 28:10-16 – Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid, go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee and there they will see me.
Jesus told them to go to Galilee and to a specific mountain to wait for Him.
In John 21, the disciples are in Galilee but are not on a mountain; they're on a boat. They'd gone back to their old profession – fishing.
The disciples were on their own without Jesus for the first time in 3.5 years.

They were worrying about provision and questioning where He was. They weren't waiting for God to work.
One dissenting voice leads others away.
Peter said he was going fishing – and they went with him.
They had no patience to wait.
Jesus had made an appointment with them, but they went back to their old ways because He wasn't there, and went back to what they knew.
They weren't patient.
Patience is a Godly virtue – look at how patient God is with us.
Jesus was patient with these men – even after three years, they didn't get what He was, and was trying to say.
They were impatient and wanted to get back to trying to provide for themselves. They had given up on the Lord's provision – given up on the Lord's plan.

V3 -
That night they caught nothing. They had the skills and knew where the fish were. They didn't catch anything because God was in control of the situation. God is in control of every situation.
When things are out of control, we start making plans, but the Lord is in control of every situation in our lives.
God was moving the fish. He was showing the disciples something. They were struggling and toiling but caught nothing.
You cannot improve your situation no matter how bad things are. You can struggle and fight and put all the self effort in that you like, but ultimately, you have to go to God.
If God tells us to go to a mountain – we wait in the mountain.
We say God's not moving or God hasn't turned up yet – but if God tells you do something, do it, and wait on God.

God tells them to go to the mountain, and they go to the sea.
When Jesus showed up, and they weren't there, He had to go down to their level. How often does that happen in our lives – that God has to come down to us and show us something, instead of us going to Him?

V4 -
Jesus stood on the shore, and the disciples didn't know it was Him. Why? Perhaps because they were caught up in their self effort. When you focus on what you're trying to do to get out of your situation, it turns your eyes from Christ and He becomes blurry.
How does Jesus appear to us this morning?
Is He blurry? Are our eyes off Him or on Him? Is He at a distance?
Are we struggling in our own self effort, getting further and further away from Christ?
Are we out of fellowship with Him?
You have to look to the Lamb – our anchor – Christ.
When we struggle in our self effort, we drift.
When you try to do things yourself, you drift from Christ.
You get caught up in whatever it is – life struggles, career, marriage, you turn your focus from Christ and onto the thing, and when you look up, He's further away than you think He would be.

If you're taking your focus off Him, you start to drift.

You have to get back to the shore – to Christ.

Jesus stands at the shore and asks them in rhetorical fashion if they have any meat, knowing the answer.

There's coming a day when we'll have to stand before Christ and He'll ask us the same question – do we have any meat – any spiritual fruit – for Him?

Telling them to throw to the right side of the boat was against the tradition of net throwing.

He was telling professional fishermen who had done it all their lives that they were doing it wrong.
The fishermen were tired, not happy, etc.

Perhaps Peter was trying to show the stranger something when he actually did it. But it came back full of fish.

John said to Peter, It is the Lord.

John remembers something about this before – the disciples had come full circle, from Galilee and now they're back again.

Luke 5:1-11

There was a quality about Peter which was admirable – he wanted to be wherever the Lord was, and he took the most direct route to get there.

No matter what the situation of the circumstance, God is sovereign.

V9 -
Eating a meal was a time of sharing, a time of reconciliation, like when the father received the prodigal son and he threw him a large banquet.
Why was it a supper that the Lord used for His last meal? Because it signifies forgiveness, fellowship and reconciliation and restoration.
We always focus on the wine and the bread for the body and blood, but there's the table. The Lord's Table. When you come to that, you're coming into fellowship with God.
You're remembering the things that were done so you could be reconciled with God.

Jesus – the King of Glory – served the men.

Christ came down, met them, brought them meat, called them in and refreshed them.

Are you in a spiritual sea this morning, struggling with your own self effort?

Here's the message – verse 12. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”

Christ is saying to you if you're struggling, "Come and dine. I'll provide. Stop struggling. Come into My presence and be reconciled. Be still."

The disciples learned the simple truth that they could not be without Jesus.

When our lives take a different turn from what we had expected, we tend to fall back into the things we used to know. But when the waves of our lives are coming in, we need to simply look to Jesus.

There's no rebuke for not being where they should be, just an invite to come and rest.

Lessons – we need to be careful of grabbing hold on the things that we used to rely on.
We cannot find nourishment, guidance, provision, anywhere other than Christ.

Secondly, self effort brings us out of fellowship with God. The more we try of ourselves, the further we get from Him.

Thirdly – there's an offer from Christ this morning, no matter your situation, what you've done or where you've been. “Come and dine with Me.”
If you're weary, come with Me. Come back into My presence.

The disciples toiled all night and caught nothing. Why? Because their will was not in line with the Lord's will.
You can do many things for God's kingdom, in His name, but if it's not God's will or His leading of you, it will not bear fruit.
If you want to bear fruit or make a difference for Christ, then get your will in line with His will.

It's striking that the Lord's Prayer is not our will, but God's. That's a hard prayer to pray.

You can't give your will away. You have to get your will in line with God's will. You have to exercise it – a living sacrifice.
When God says go, go. When He says wait, wait.

God can't use you unless you go to where He wants you to be. If they had gone to the mountain and waited, God wouldn't have had to show them this. No matter if God is late by our standards, we should wait there. God's said it; that settles it. “God's taking a long time” - it's His time. He breathed it into existence. Wait.

Wait on God. He'll do it. All we have to do is surrender to His will in our lives and He does the rest.

“Come and dine.”

That's the message of the Saviour. Cease struggling in your own efforts, come in from the sea and trust in Me.



Let's go dine with Jesus.
Love in Christ,
~Mademoiselle Siân

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Boys and the Berries

Blackberry picking is one of my favourite times of year.

A nature reserve, with tangles of thorns and bushes, longish grass, steep paths and a river, is where we have gone from times immemorial to pick the fruit - originally for jam, then for my brother's Ketogenic milkshakes, and also (especially recently) for apple-and-blackberry crumble, or pie, or...

Clear blue sky and bright green grass meet, the horizon line fringed with the dark shades of hedges and trees.
The hot sun beats down on us, clad in long sleeves and long trousers, protecting the bare skin from the thorns as we reach deep, deep into the heart of the tangles, trying to pull the nettled leaves with their surprising thorns apart to look for fruit underneath.

It's quiet, apart from the birds singing, the occasional distant bark of a dog, or the rustle of the two bags, which doubled and tied into one because of the thick dark juice that ends up dripping from them as the pressure of the mass of berries crushes the smaller and weaker ones, and those at the bottom.

Time in nature, silence, usually induces three things for me...clearer thinking (the only other time THAT happens is in the shower!), praying and thinking.

The praying lead to my other blog post, which I'll release sometime this week - Current of the Current.

The thinking lead to this one. :D


Coming from a family of four who have been berry picking for X amount of years, I've noticed two things (in their basic, simplistic form):
1) There are two types of berries (ignore the fact that there's green, red and then black :P)
2) There are two types of pickers.

Berry patches vary from year to year, depending on where the most moisture and the most sunshine has fallen. These factors can make a rather large difference where the best berry patch is from one year to the next.

These berries are usually found at the beginning, when searching for a good patch.

They're good for fillers - taking up space in your empty bag and making it look like you're actually doing something, adding a bit of weight.
However, they're insubstantial. They are comprised of two to several large loose drupelets, break easily and are fairly useless. They get crushed, crumble apart and leak juice easily.

The best berries are these:

They are firm, not hard but solid, and can be pinched off the branch without squirting all over the place. They are great for fruit, for puddings and more as they contain the juice and ofttimes hold the sweeter flavour.


Some berry pickers are anxious to make sure they get berries, and in the fear that there may not be any more berries - that this is the only good spot, poor as they may be - and so they fill up their bags with the first kind of berries, ones that crumble in your hand and leave juice marks everywhere, ones with two or three drupelets that would scarcely make a decent milkshake, much less a pie or crumble.

Other berry pickers work their way around the areas, searching for the one good berry patch. Often the berries are deep in the thicket, under the stingers and the nettled leaves, but they're there - firm, juicy, ripe and big.
The scratches and cuts, the stings and tearings in your flesh are so painful, but you keep going - just to get those good berries.


Okay...so...BOYS and berries? Just to reassure you, this isn't an equality post about how one gender picks better berries than another. In case you were wondering. :P


This is actually a post for my older single lady friends. :)

You've probably heard before about girls being compared to apples - those who wait for a guy to climb all the way to the top of the tree instead of just taking the apples that hang lower down.
Well, in this one you get some revenge...because I'm going to compare guys to blackberries. :P

Two/three years ago, a distant friend I'd met on Twitter got married. Warning bells sounded, but I figured it was way off to worry about yet.
Since then, friends of friends got married. Then friends got married or engaged. Then close friends started getting into relationships, engaged or married. Now two of my daughters are courting/dating/engaged.

...yep.

I've been attacked for my rather antagonistic stance on this, but unless you're a close friend and understand me, I'm not going to try and defend that. :P


However, off topic.

Some of you young ladies are out there working patiently, praying and wondering, "...why...not me? Lord, am I going to be single? Why them and not me?"
You're getting older. The years mount. You see the stats saying that young women over the age of 20 something are less than likely to get into a relationship, to get married. And you steadily fight the occasional rise of fear, reminding yourself that God's got it all in control.

Some of these young couples are ready for this stage of their life, it's true. And God is showing them a good berry in the bush while you're still waiting and working to find the right patch.

But...many of the girls today...are afraid. Very afraid that God's not going to do it in time. And when a young man shows up and he seems to match up to a lot of their (good) standards (cause there are bad standards, but I'm not going into that here), it doesn't really matter if he doesn't match all of them.
I mean, after all, he's kind. Respectful. Treats you like you're special. It doesn't matter if he's weak in seeking God through prayer and His Word, and isn't good at leading a family or encouraging you to the Lord.
After all, he goes to church and he's a Christian and he does read the Bible when he's got time.

So they pick a berry with a few drupelets. And wonder why it squishes, or why it's never very filling or can't be used as it's meant to.

And you...you're looking at them, and you know it's not...the right...kind of guy...but still...it's a guy, and they're in a relationship, and they're happy...(sorta).

And you wait and you're tired and you fight down the fear again. And then, one day, God shows you the berry patch. The one you didn't think was there...when you thought all the berries had failed this year.
And there's the perfect berry - made just the way it needed to be. Maybe it's not where you expected it to be. Maybe it's not what you wanted it to be. Maybe it's not what you thought it would be. But it's exactly what it needed to be, the way God planned it.

So don't give up. Don't drop a few of your standards in fear of not landing a guy. The more standards you drop, the fewer drupelets your berry will have.

It may hurt. The thorns may tear your flesh when you reach for the berry. It may not be easy to pull off the branch.
Really good things never come easily. Being born again is impossibly hard. Godliness is agonising.
But it's worth it. God is worth it. Christ is worth it.
And marriage is also worth it.

Keep your standards up. Keep waiting for the right bush. Keep praying and keep checking the Son. He'll show you the berry bush in His own good time. :)
And even if He never does, you know what? No bush is the best thing possible for you.

Oh, it may not seem like it. Probably, it WON'T seem like it. But being in the centre of His Will is the best place for you to be.
Not two steps to the right or one to the left with a crumbly berry. But right in the centre...and following His path to the best bush.

No two bushes are the same. No two paths are the same. Keep going. His path for you will be unbelievable. Whatever it is.

In Christ,
Mademoiselle Siân