Thanksgiving.

…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

We’re doing thanksgiving this year. We aren’t American, we are English, living in Ireland, but we decided to do it. One of the reasons being we had a turkey! But to be honest we just loved the idea of it.

The whole thanksgiving thing set off a train of thoughts in me today. The turkey is currently in the oven and I’m making a butternut squash pie for pudding as well, the first thing was, that’s remarkable! I didn’t even think I could cook very well ten years ago. I couldn’t, compared to now. Well, I could cook, I just didn’t have much confidence. A friend encouraging me to cook for someone else encouraged a spark of self confidence and it grew from that time.

Then, I thought about what had happened over the past ten years and this is what I came up with. It’s actually really remarkable. Please be mindful that this is written from my perspective (Cathy’s), I can’t really tell Chris’s story. A lot is entwined but not all. His life changed beyond all recognition in a lot of ways too.

I was in terrible debt and that was dealt with just over 8 years ago, we went into marriage with no debt whatsoever. That was thanks to God and a group in the UK called Christians against poverty who helped me sort it out. Well, they did more than help, they were absolutely amazing.

I got married (I was a single parent for quite a long time before this), my eldest left home just before this, went to Uni and then stayed in the London area. Not long after getting married we had a miscarriage (which I found pretty devastating for quite a while) and then two sons, I left my job in nursing to be at home with them. We moved to Ireland just over three years ago, just under two years ago, Covid happened, which made things slightly awkward.

Chris left a job he loved but then got another one over here, doing something completely different but that he had the skills for. We left all our friends and family and church. Weirdly, due to Covid I’ve been able to continue in a way with that same church (for now). We’ve started homeschooling. We’ve been doing up a cottage and grounds. I can cook! We have chickens, ducks and turkeys (temporarily in the case of the turkeys) and grow our own veg etc to a degree. Chris has a motorbike (which he loves). In the last ten years I’ve lost my grandad, two uncles and my dad. I still love 90’s music and have it on at the moment while I’m typing this. Chris’s music tastes are even more dodgy. I’ve learnt to manage a home better (although always room for improvement haha) and a big thing I’ve learnt is that love should not be conditional. I’ve also learnt more and more to go to God with everything constantly and depend on him and I want this to continue. I’ve learnt much about how He is actually in charge no matter how much I’d like to be sometimes, haha.

The above is so simplistic, there’s so much more to tell as well, I can’t possibly tell it all. God is good and I am just so grateful to Him for his constant guidance, reassurance and love. Without His love, I would be completely lost. He has guided us, loved us, and worked in us. And I still feel like I’m only ankle deep with Him. There’s so much to look forward to. Life with you Lord is very exciting!

Thankyou for friends and family and hello if you’re reading this πŸ™‚ We miss you. I’m cooking a turkey!!!!!! and it’s our own turkey! for the first time ever!

Love, Cathy.

Peace.

Chris said to me after the last post, ‘write one on peace’. I’ve been pondering this since, on and off.

The first thing I did was blitz memory verses I had on peace, the ones I came up with without going to the bible were:

He whose mind is set on me I keep in perfect peace. (Isaiah 26:3)

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. (John 14:27).

Jesus is my peace. (Ephesians 2:14)

And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) – read the bit before this too.

I come not to bring peace but division. (ooh). (Luke 12:51).

When you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (got a bit distracted at this point). Still a good point though.

Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or what you will wear. (Matthew 6:25).

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has worries enough for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34).

I will lie down and sleep in peace because you alone oh Lord make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8).

The people who dwell in darkness have seen a great light. (Matthew 4:16).

What makes you fight and quarrel amongst yourself? Sin! Your own wants and needs. (James 4:1), I will put the correct version for this (from the NLT): What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?

Trust in the Lord your God and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him Him and He will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

In my father’s house there are many rooms…(John 14:2)

Alright, some of those aren’t directly saying peace in them, but believing/following them does give you peace. And they’re from memory so not entirely word for word. But I’ve chosen to leave them as they are with the references so you can look them up if you want to.

You know, sometimes, I think, how can I speak on peace? I don’t have peace. Then I think again, and the thing is, I do. Jesus is my peace whether I recognise this or not and I actually do have peace. This came to mind today as I lay in bed earlier. I actually don’t feel that well today, nothing serious, just feel a bit under the weather. I laid there this morning and suddenly realised how much God has changed me and my life. I had a direct flashback to lying in bed just before I came to know Jesus, when I’d just got back in from church in the very early days. In that case I was lost, I was curled up in a foetal position, I had very little hope in me, I was despairing, depressed, did not know what to do or where to go and then God guided me to himself through Jesus. The direct contrast between today and then was quite something. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t always feel peaceful, like I said, I was feeling under the weather today and missing England, but it was so entirely different to that afternoon over 13 years ago. The difference is God, coming to know Him and having Him dwelling inside me, knowing Him. Him loving me and guiding me no matter what, me wanting to be guided by Him and changed by Him and that’s it. It’s lovely. Sometimes I believe He gives us these memories so we remember what He has done.

Thankyou Jesus!

There’s also been other stuff this year, I’ve had a lot to process since we left England and there’s been some stuff that I needed to go over, to do with forgiveness etc. I found myself becoming quite bitter and angry at times (not so much now).

A while back, I was mowing and talking, not so much ‘with’ God, but ‘at’ him, mowing is brilliant, no one can hear you (or so I think) and you can get it all out. However, God very calmly and clearly told me that there’s no room for unforgiveness in a Christian’s life. And I realised I needed to deal with it and get on with things. And the thing is, you could say, you just ‘decided’ to do this, out of your own strength, and yes, there is an element of that, but the main element is actually a supernatural loving kindness of God where he just changed me. It changed very quickly from thinking of a certain person with bitterness and anger, to actually naturally thinking of the good stuff they’d done and are and actually liking them again. It’s quite something the love of God and what he does. I was reminded of this when I was listening to a preach a few weeks ago and the same phrase was used of ‘there’s no place for…’ and I remembered.

We need to look at Jesus and be changed, We need to have zero tolerance for bitterness and deal with ‘stuff’ quickly. Don’t let stuff fester, it isn’t good for you. And no, this isn’t some self help thing, this is real, this is God, this is just a small example of what he does. He is for us, not against us. He is a Holy God who wants a Holy people.

And one more thing, this peace I speak of is not some sort of mantra ‘I will have peace, I will have peace, I believe in God type thing. Caring about issues and speaking out when necessary is not in contradiction to this peace. It doesn’t mean we aren’t called to think and use our brains and care. I believe this sort of caring about major issues can drive us to God and prayer in amazing ways. It is about putting our trust in Him and doing life with Him and having faith in Him and resting in Him.

Amen!

Cathy.

PS. There are a lot more verses to do with peace. I just used the ones that came to mind. And yes, there’s a lot more that could be written but I’m going to leave it there, the kids need my attention too! πŸ™‚ Bye!