seven years

Thursday, 30 January 2014

I've been stuck indoors for the last week or so and I'm getting a bit fed up with it. My throat/sinus infection followed directly by Baby B's hideous cold and cough (still ongoing) combined with heavy rain has pretty much left me stranded indoors. I'm trying to be considerate about passing on germs, but it's grinding me down a little bit now. Thankfully, I think she's past the infectious snot-flying stage and is entering the this-cough-won't-ever-go-away phase. So that's something.

One of the reasons why I hate being stuck indoors is that I start to notice everything that needs to be done. I go from grateful for my warm and cosy home to noticing every little detail that is wrong with it. I notice the dusty skirting boards, the dirty oven, the terrifyingly messy cupboard under the stairs, the growing ironing pile, the huge amount of things that need to be done to the garden. Because I'm surrounded by it, I can't stop thinking about it.

I guess what you spend your time on - or immersed in - is what fills your heart. It determines the things that you strive for, the direction you want to take, the decisions you make.

Anyway, I had a break from dwelling on my lack of ability as a domestic goddess, because a lovely lady from my church dropped off the DVD that the ladies at my Bible study watched on Thursday (the one that I missed because Baby was at the height of germiness). We're starting a study on James. It was so good just to immerse myself in scripture study again. As I flicked through my Bible, I went to underline the scripture that was mentioned, and I realised I had already highlighted it.

Do you want to know when I last highlighted it?

Almost seven years ago.

I started writing dates in my Bible around six to eight months after I became a Christian, because I heard John Lancaster recommend it when he came to speak at our church. And I'm so glad I did, because it really does mark the passing of time and spiritual growth in such a simple and easy to see sort of way. And it makes me smile to see the same passage marked again and again (the verse I was given at my baptism has five different dates written by it!) where it has obviously been relevant, or useful, or challenging, over and over again.

But isn't that amazing? The same little sentence in the Bible that affected me seven years ago is teaching me something new today. Seven years have passed and there's still things to learn.

This is me seven years ago.

(Yes, that is an Engrish t-shirt I am sporting and yes, I still own that t-shirt and wear it as pyjamas ..!)
In the time since then, I have gotten engaged, and married. I have packed up all my possessions and moved house three times. I have gone back to college, gained a new qualification, gotten new jobs. I have been baptised. I have attended baptisms. I have attended many weddings. I have made many fashion mistakes. I have bought far too many handbags and way too many books. I have gotten way too many throat infections. I have made the most amazing friends. I have had emotional and spiritual highs and lows. I have been suddenly flush with extra money, but also been at the point of wondering how we're going to afford to eat. I have been boosted and carried by my family. I have been on the receiving end of miracles. I have carried and given birth to the most beautiful girl.

I have made many steps forward and many steps back. I have made many mistakes. I have hurt people. I have been hurt. I have misrepresented Jesus in a myriad of ways. I have made huge fundamental leaps of faith that have changed everything. I have been taught life lessons and experienced revelation after revelation ... over and over again I have received blessings, wisdom, forgiveness, grace. And to those of you who have known and loved me over these seven years, if I've ever given you the impression that He doesn't mean the world to me, that He hasn't changed anything, that He doesn't have a profound affect on every single minutia of my life ...

Then I'm sorry. That's me. That's me being human and silly and forgetful. That's not to do with Him.

This is me now:

All my recent pictures are of me pulling ridiculous faces. I must get out of this habit asap!

And I cannot tell you how much my life has changed in these seven years. I cannot tell you how different I am, how healed I have been, and how much I have been blessed. Life as a Christian has been amazing, emotional, awesome, difficult, challenging, healing, strange and wonderful ... all of those things at different times, but it has always always always been blessed.

I just can't tell you. I can tell you bits of it. I can tell you particular challenges, particular moments. Some of them are blog appropriate and some of them aren't. But I can never tell you the depth of it, I can never even begin to describe the wonderful transformation that the last seven years have been, because I just couldn't ever articulate it. I can't put it into words because there's parts of it I don't understand.

Seven years. Has it really been that long?

There's so much still to do. So much that I take for granted, and so much that I have neglected. But so much goodness, so much change, so much life has been had in these last seven.

May the next seven be as awesome as the first.

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