Welcome to the Patchwork Blog! I hope you enjoy reading my random thoughts about life, Jesus and the freedom he offers.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Emotions playing catch up

My current state of being in limbo has been testing my faith and my relationship with God. But in this time of uncertainty there is also a great deal of learning.  One thing is coming to me more and more each day. I am learning that my emotions don't necessarily reflect what is going on in my mind. My emotions are up and down because I don't have a job, or money coming in and yet still have bills to pay. But my spirit is still sure that God loves me and He is good all the time. My emotions are just taking a while to catch up with this truth. I have spent so many years eating my emotions away with bingeing on sweet foods that I am new at all this feeling difficult emotions thing. I am having to learn to feel emotions well. I have to learn new ways of dealing with them.

I think I have a tendency still to see feeling any difficult emotions as a failure (funnily enough I only believe it is a failure in me - in others it is a perfectly acceptable and normal thing!). But it is normal given my current situation (i.e.who is living in temporary accommodation, with no money yet bills to pay, and a job that will not start for a few weeks) to feel emotional. It is a normal human response to uncertainty.

When all around me is uncertain I need to look at what is secure in my life. And this is where this post follows on from the last one. I know God loves me and has a plan for my life. I also know He is good and is working all things for good in my life. I have had a lot of words from Him saying He will speak to me and guide me. As in the last post, I need to keep my eyes focused on what is still, motionless and sure - the love God has for me, and His goodness.

I suffer from motion sickness and if I am a passenger in a car for too long I start to feel sick, especially if I am in the back seat. What helps is to look out of the front window with my eyes fixed on the road ahead as if I were driving the vehicle. It gives my brain an assurance of stability that stops the nausea from getting too bad (I never feel sick if I am driving). Gazing at God in times of turmoil has the same effect!

I know God wants to teach me about being focused on Him in times of turmoil and I pray I learn it well. I think my interim report from the Lord would probably say 'could do better'! However, it is said with love and a look in His eyes that is urging me on to deeper trust in Him.

I pray you will be able to do the same in your own times of turmoil.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Trusting in God's Goodness and Love

I've been working on how to trust God these last few weeks. It's been hard. I've been making the same mistake as I so often do. I have been confusing my feelings with trusting or having faith. I should have known better. I learned this and also wrote about it in my book, He Never Let Go, when I learned to believe once more in the existence of God as an act of my will, rather than waiting to feel this faith. 

Over the last few weeks I've been trying to squeeze out trust as a feeling and condemning myself when I feel afraid. I gave in my notice at work 5 1/2 weeks ago. As my job is residential it means in 2 1/2 weeks time I  not only have no job but I also have nowhere to live either. 

I allowed fear to get hold of me and I thought this meant I was unable to trust. Then I started to realise (again!) that trusting in God is an act of my will. I  decided that I can choose to trust him despite what is going on around me. But what am I basing this trust on? What is the foundation of this trust?


Abstract View of Bexhill Beach

I took the photo on the left on Bexhill beach a few weeks ago. I don't know why I took it. I was playing around with abstract ideas. I thought I would see if I could get all the posts lined up in the photo. I quite like the shot. I wish I had had my camera with me rather than just a mobile phone.

Looking at this photo now I remember to get the posts lined up I lined up the first two posts first. I changed my position until the first two were in line. And then because the posts were already in a line the rest just automatically fell into place. 

I realise now that there are two things I can base my trust in God on.

1. God is good all the time
2. God loves me more than anyone else ever will and proved it by dying for me.  

When I get these two things into line I find the trust comes much easier. It starts to fall into line. I chose to accept that God is good and He loves me. It makes trusting so much easier. I didn't feel the trust it was a choice I made as an act of my will. 

Earlier this week Bill Johnson put the following status on his Facebook page. "I will not sacrifice the idea that God is good on the altar of human reasoning in order to find an answer for what I don't understand or can't explain." (Bill Johnson).

I may not always know why I am going through hard times. I may not be able to find an answer for it but I can chose to believe that God is good and He loves me. 

Trust Him - it makes so much else fall into place. It makes life that much easier! A kind friend Dave texted me the following well known verses this week. It was so good to be reminded of them. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, 24 August 2012

Home is where the heart is

"Front door",
I painted this from a friend's photo
One of my dreams for a long time has been for a home of my own. I have lived in tied accommodation for 15 years now. Fifteen years of knowing that where I live is directly provided by my employer. The last two years have been the most difficult of those because I have been working directly out of my flat. I am currently the manager of a block of retirement flats. All the office stuff is in my living room and I work out of that living room. I am on-duty or on-call all the time I am at home. I can only be fully off-duty when I am away from my home. 

My longing for a 'real' home has been so strong that it is almost a pain. I long for a place that I can decorate how I want.  A place that doesn't have 25-30 year old carpets of dodgy colours and/or patterns. A place that I can put whatever colour I like onto the walls - even black if I so choose (I wouldn't actually!). 

But what is behind this longing? Is the colour of the walls and carpet really so important or is there something else going on. I have realised for a long time that I want a place of my own because I want to feel secure. I want a place where I am be myself with no fear of judgement or ridicule. The colour of the walls in one sense is immaterial. 

Over the last 20 months since I came back to God my faith is growing stronger all the time. My relationship with Father God is deepening all the time. I have been learning to go to Him for my emotional needs not just other people (or worse keeping the pain locked in or eating it away). I have been learning to lean on Him. 

The other day I was sitting on a bench at Seaford beach overlooking the sea. It was beautiful. I realised something in that moment. I realised that God is now my home. My security is in God more than it has been before. A home of my own is no longer as much of a need as it was. It is something I would love to have one day but it is not a need for security anymore. God fulfills that need now. My heart didn't really have a home before but now my heart's home is in Father God not in a dream of bricks and mortar. 

I am in a time of turmoil at the moment. I have handed in my notice at my job managing the retirement flats. Not only have I found it really hard living-in but it is also incredibly quiet here and I spend large amounts of time alone doing nothing in particular (although it did give me the time to write my book). In the end the boredom and isolation finally got to me and I gave my 2 months notice 4 weeks ago. 

This rather wonky looking house is the view from my
sister's villa in Spain. (someone needs to teach me about
perspectives in painting!!)
This means that in 4 weeks time not only will I have no job but I will have no home either. I have friends who have generously said I can have a bed for a while until I get settled so I won't be on the streets. I am applying to care agencies (something I have done before) to get  work as a home carer which would give me an income. I have had days when I am wobbling emotionally and feeling anxious but I am surprised how 'together' I am most of the time. It is testament to how much God is changing me. He is now where my heart is and so He is my home. I can relax and know that God is in charge of it all! The amazing thing is that God is far more stable than any building I could live in. He is always there and will never let me down. Allow God to give your heart a home. 

Don Francisco has written a lovely song called  'Give your heart a home' . It's one of my favourites of his. The link will take you to Don's website where you can not only listen to it in full but also download it for free if you like. The chorus has lovely words...

"If you're tired and weary, weak and heavy laden

I can understand how it feels to be aloneI will take your burden, if you'll let Me love you,Wrap My arms around you, Give your heart a home"

Sunday, 19 August 2012

On the winning side

My last two posts, Spiritual Battles and seeking the healer not the healing  have been about my being set free from my compulsive overeating. I am so pleased with the way this is going. The worst that has happened with my eating is making unwise choices when I am hungry. When I am  no longer hungry I stop eating even if it is chocolate. I am learning more to encourage myself in the Lord as King David of Israel did thousands of years ago. It is working.  I am still learning and only just beginning but I know now I am on the winning side!

Tonight I am feeling anxious about something. So I decided to sit down with a tin of biscuits to finish off my evening meal. Like a sort of test to see what would happen. Would I go back to overeating? The worst I could do was one bourbon and one custard cream. Given how much I used to put away this is NOTHING! I looked at the tin after my 2 biscuit pudding and didn't want any more. I put the tin back in the kitchen. Yesterday I was at a party, with a buffet. I only went up once. And yes I ate more than I would ordinarily but that is normal behaviour for anyone at a party. I am so pleased. It is about 4 or 5 months later and  I am slowly losing weight (very slowly) without trying. I feel almost normal around food! It feels like a miracle!

"Journey Home" painted by me on 5th August 2012
I feel like I am on the last leg of my journey home from the difficult time of being held captive by compulsive overeating. It feels wonderful, and exhilarating. Just to think that this time two years ago I was still locked into the pain and desolation of no longer believing in the existence of God. I have come so far in two years. God is faithful and loving. He is kind.

It's all part of my learning to allow God to be to me all that I long for. Home is a huge part of my desires. More on the idea journeying home on the next blog post.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Video trailer for He Never Let Go

I've made a video trailer for my book, He Never Let Go. I think it gives a good idea of what the book is about. Why not check it out. 

The book is available on Amazon in kindle and paperback formats. Don't forget you can get FREE apps to read kindle books on any android, PC or apple device. Click here to find the free apps.  

Spiritual Battles

My last post was about seeking the healer not the healing. I now realise I need to learn to deal with my emotions differently without bingeing them away like I used to. I know I need to seek God more to help me in my quest for a more healthy emotional life. My question today is if I know that why don't I always do it?

I find I am getting stuck in my difficult emotions and I'm not really allowing God to help me with them. I am not coming to Him and asking my Daddy God for help when I need it. I can ask Him for practical help but asking for spiritual help appears to be a different thing altogether.

Knowing this makes me realise more each day that I am living in a spiritual war zone. It is hard work to change an unhealthy lifestyle that has taken years to build up. There is a battle going on and I feel I am sometimes not on the winning side.

I have been through a lot of stuff recently that would normally make me feel the need to binge. It's been nothing particularly major. It's just lots of stuff all happening at the same time. The kind of things that happen to just about all of us at some point or another. The really excellent news is that I HAVE NOT BINGED!! This is truly a miracle in my opinion. I simply have no desire to consume large amounts of food my body is not hungry for. So the lie I told myself just now - I feel I am sometimes not on the winning side - is simply not true. I am on the winning side but am still having to fight in the battle.

The problem is that I have found it hard to know what to do with the emotions instead of overeating. They sit in my chest not going up and not going down. I find I have never learnt to really deal with my difficult emotions in a healthy way. I don't know what to do with them. I can talk about them in an abstract way, and I can tell myself things I can do but somehow I don't always find a way to actually get them out.

I need to learn from King David. In I Samuel 30:6 we are told "And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God."
wholeness, straight, path, God
Abba Father, keep me walking on the path
that leads to wholeness, knowing you are
walking with me all the way

I want to learn to encourage myself in the Lord. I tend to look to other people to find God. Often I find Him there. But at times I have no one to help me find Him. This is due to the fact I live alone, and work from home on my own most of the time. It can't be helped at the moment. But I think God has given me this time to help me learn to go first to Him, not to someone else. God may use another person to be the answer to my prayer for help but the answer also may come directly from God Himself in my times of prayer and Bible reading. I want to keep going on the path to wholeness, and I have Jesus to help me on the way. He is with me all the time, and as I have learnt so well He will never let me go!

If I can learn these things well I will be able to say with David (Psalm 34:4-5 )
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame."

"Daddy God, I ask that you would help me to encourage myself in you. Help me learn to come first to you, and then wait for your answer."

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Seeking the healer not the healing

My last post got me thinking. Writing it made me realise even more that it was the deepening of my understanding of the Abba Father love of God that gave me the confidence to really surrender my eating disorder, my emotional eating to Him. Until then I had been seeking healing, seeking freedom from my overeating rather than focusing on God Himself. My focus had been on the healing, on what I would gain (or rather what weight I would lose).

I did make some progress doing this. I did start to learn to identify emotions and let some of them out in a more safe and healthy way. However, my main way of dealing with difficult emotions remained food. I decided to shelve my seeking freedom from overeating for the time being. I wanted to learn more about God as Father. I had a growing realisation that my relationship with God was a relationship with Jesus not with Father. Jesus came to bring us to His Father, not just to himself.

I realised that my own earthly father hadn't helped in my view of God and then I saw Mark Stibbe's book 'I am your Father' in the book shop at St Paul's Hammersmith in London. I knew I just I had to buy it. Reading it really helped a lot. I learnt more about Father. I highly recommend it .

The closer we get to Father, the more we allow Father to be everything to us the more we are transformed to His likeness. It is an automatic reaction. I think knowing God's Fatherhood more enabled to just let go of the eating disorder. There was something else to replace it - a relationship with Father. He filled all the places in my heart I tried to fill with food.

We get closer to God, we surrender more to Him and automatically we are changed to be more like Him. That is why when we finally see Him face to face we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye.

1 John 3:2 (New King James Version) -  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

1 Corinthians 15:51-53 (New King James Version) -  Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality

Seeing God, seeing what He is like will change us completely in the twinkling of an eye.  But while down here we see don't see as clearly as we might wish.

I Corinthians 13:8-12 - Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whetherthere is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Until we see Him face to face, and are changed completely all at once,  we can seek to know Him as well as we can here. The more I know Him, the more I know His truly life changing love, the more changed I am to His image. Seek Him with all your heart. God tells us to seek Himself not because He is egotistical. He tells us this because He knows it is the way to true freedom and He longs for us to have true freedom. Seek Him! Seek the healer. Seek the giver not the gift. Therein lies true freedom. Therein lies the way to soar in the heights!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Freedom from an eating disorder

I've recently discovered something that  I have been seeking for years. I have discovered freedom from my eating disorder. I used to be a compulsive over eater. I like that sentence so much I will say it again. I USED to be a compulsive over eater. There was a very strong link between my emotions and my appetite. I had an addiction to food. This means I am very overweight and suffer from some of the accompanying health problems.

But now I am free! The emotional link between my emotions and my eating has been completely broken by Father God. I have started to lose weight without trying. I just don't want to eat as much. I am eating plenty but not bingeing.

I still get thoughts in response to difficult emotions that say something like 'I need food' and I go into the kitchen but when I get there I just don't want to eat (unless it is a genuine meal time)  so I make a cup of tea and sit down with that! Its amazing.

The key for me was discovering the deep Father love of God.  I  was always scared before that if I let God take the overeating away 'what will fill that place'. I didn't trust God enough to fill the space left behind. But now I have been discovering more about His amazing Father love. And I suddenly knew I could cope without the eating. Father was enough. I asked someone at church to pray for me and it went. It did take a couple of weeks before I realised that it really had gone.   At first I was scared I would take it back again. But I didn't.

I used to stop over eating for weeks at a time before but in the end something would switch on or off (not sure which) in my head and the eating would start again. I could almost feel the switch go on. But the switch back to over eating simply hasn't switched back on again. It is off for good this time. I just know in my bones, deep inside that I am free.

For me the answer has totally been spiritual. I needed to know the deep Father love of God, the love that sent His son to die for us, and a love that He still longs to shower us with. Knowing that love meant I was no longer scared of being with out my eating disorder. An eating disorder becomes a friend, albeit a poor friend, a damaging friend. It is hard to let it go - it is part of you. But it is safe to let it go when we have God with us. I no longer have to say I am a compulsive over eater. I have a new identity - I am a child of the loving heavenly Father.

And talking of new identities. If you have an eating disorder, or if you know someone who has one, then check out the New ID course. It was doing the New ID course that taught me that  I needed a new identity. It taught me that freedom is possible. It took another 7 years to be finally free but I kept on seeking. I wouldn't give up the idea of complete freedom because of what I learnt on that course. Here is the link http://newid.org/

Freedom is possible. Don't give up seeking it. But seek the giver of the freedom - Father God rather than trying to seek the freedom itself - its a much quicker route!!

Monday, 14 May 2012

He Never Let Go is now on Amazon

"This is a lovely book, laced with emotion, full of challenge and above all a wonderful insight into the faithfulness of God." Mr & Mrs Jarvis

"This is a courageous telling of one woman's loss of faith - particularly courageous because she was an evangelist. . . This book got me thinking about aspects of my own beliefs that I've never questioned - and in my mind that has to be a good thing. Buy it, enjoy it and be challenged!" E. Ives

"Found this book helpful, informative & interesting - A true story all about a return journey back to God from a loss of faith in Him. Loved it!" Jean Henderson

"A moving account of a crisis of faith" Sandra Delemare

The above comments have been made by folks who have read my book and have been kind enough to leave a review on Amazon. I'm feeling somewhat excited about my book today. My book is now out on Amazon in paperback. I feel like a real (self) published author!! A real paperback book on Amazon!

I am really grateful to those who have helped me along the way and who have been a part of my being able to produce this book. I am also grateful to God for always being there and for never letting go!

I also hope that God will use the book to help others going through a similar thing. The pain of long term unwanted singleness/childlessness caused me to walk away from God. This book explores the pain of my unwanted singleness and describes my way back to God. God never let me go and I am so thankful. 

Friday, 30 March 2012

He Never Let Go is now out in paperback

He Never Let Go is finally out in paperback form. At the moment is it only out on Lulu.com, a self publishing company that I used to print the books.

I can't afford to go to a regular printer and have a lot of books printed at once. With Lulu I can print one at a time if necessary. At present it is not available to search through their site. To buy the book you will need to click the link on the right and you will be taken to the right part of the site.

The P& P is a bit steep this way. I hope to have the book on Amazon in a couple of months time, which should help folk to buy it should they wish to.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

[Self] published author

I have finally finished my book He Never Let Go.  It is now out on Amazon's Kindle. I hope to have paperbacks out in the next few months too. Its been a long journey to get here but a very cathartic one. Writing my story down has helped a lot. I hope it can help others who are going through a bad time too. 

Here is the link to the Amazon page for the book, He Never Let Go. This link opens in another window and takes you to the Amazon website.  It feels like quite an achievement to say the least.