I’ve been keeping a weekly lockdown diary on this page, (miracles do happen!) but felt this story was a little too good, (not to mention long and detailed!) to share within that. So, here goes, I hope it encourages somebody as much as it has done me!
Yesterday was a bad day. In fact, the whole weekend pretty much sucked. I am tired, hormonal, uncomfortable and, being British, more than a little bit anxious about living here under this government right now. I know, right; I am a party in a bag this weekend.
So Monday morning happens and I drag myself out of bed, come downstairs and shout about nothing I can remember. Husband takes one look at me, sees the fire in my nostrils and sends me out. “You are not attempting to teach these kids in a mood like that! Go out, get some space, talk to God, come back when you’re in a better place.”
Well, I didn’t bother arguing with that! I shoved on my coat and my wellies and I bolted out of the door before he had time to change his mind!
I walked for miles. Called a friend. Poured it all out, had a pray with her, walked some more. Walked and walked until I could see water. Open water. Hallelujah! It’s been months. I hadn’t realised how much I miss the sound of trickling! But there it was. The canal and the locks and the bridges. And as I looked at the gloriously urban view, it didn’t even matter what size Dave R’s thingy was, or what Shelley does and where she does it. It was BEAUTIFUL!
So I sat. I sat by the lock and watched the water flow through and just breathed.
Then I got to God.
I don’t know how and why I’ve let myself get this low again.
I don’t know why I didn’t pray this morning. I don’t know why I turned on my phone instead. Why I read the news, the fake news, the aggravated comments. I don’t know why I’ve let it get to me again. I don’t know why I’ve fully indulged in the hormones and the darkness and the mood and the headlines and the worry. I’ve just jumped in there. Submerged. Stuck my head under. And now I’m too stuck to climb out.
I don’t know how. But just... Will you just… I don’t know. Use me, even though I’m being decidedly useless?! Talk to me, even though I’m not listening?!
(Gotta love a God who likes a challenge!)
The phone rings.
No. Just kidding. It’s Husband… he has a virtual funeral visit in fifteen minutes.
I’m forty five minutes away.
He changes the time. Which is just as well really, as by the time I get back at normal pace I feel refreshed, but also in need of a chiropractor! The joys of unfit and thirty five.
Anyway… later on in the day, I’m boiling the kettle and scrolling Facebook (because you can’t fix stupid), and I see an advert for a local, family-run ice cream business offering home delivery. Oooh, yes!
Fifteen minutes later, the kids have all chosen a flavour each and I’ve topped it up with whatever-the-heck-I-like because I’m on my second two-week visit from Aunt flippin’ Flo and I jolly well deserve to eat whatever I like, thank you very much! (As do those who have to suffer me through it, to be fair to them all.) Yes, it’s indulgent and pricey but hey, so’s my dodgy menstrual cycle!
ADD. TO. CART.
No more than ten minutes later I feel a twinge. An uncomfortable thought. A guilt. Here’s me sat at home like a fat cat, ordering expensive ice cream to feed my self pity, when there’s people can’t afford to eat. Or at the very least, there’s also other people, giving as much time and resources as they can spare to make sure that those people do get to eat. (Yes, to be absolutely fair, Husband is one of them, but that is missing the point.)
Thus, my mind immediately jumps to Those Friends. They’re Eden-types; you know, the ones who live on the council estate by choice and calling and give absolutely everything they ever own to share with others. They are The Friends I carry round in my pocket, for those times when WWJD (‘What Would Jesus Do?’) doesn’t enter my conscience fast enough! In recent times I have actually imagined them, physically sitting in a room with me, while other Christians talk about expensive holidays or housing expectations – just to help me keep perspective! I mean, I actually imagine their facial expressions and what they would say in response as others talk; not because I idolise them or follow their lead all of the time, but simply because they help me not to get carried away in the other direction either! They help me to question everything I see and hear, without even knowing it.
Today, of course, I bet they never order themselves expensive ice cream!
I bet they don’t….
For sure, I ain’t cancelling that ice cream! But… if I order some for Those Friends too… well, that gets me off the hook right?!
Vindication AND Ice cream. Result!
What follows is nothing short of beautiful.
I drop them a message, asking them to select their flavours and make room in the freezer. The response is unbelievable. Apparently, their preschool daughter has been praying for some ice cream since last week; to the point where she has been asking her Mum to check the freezer each and every morning to see if God has delivered it yet?! Now, the father has been shopping for the elderly every day this week. Each time he has considered picking up some ice cream, and each time he has felt God say not to. Someone else is going to bring it; I will deliver. He said he even considered slipping a little hint into his online Sermon on Sunday, but felt that would be cheating.
They have been watching and waiting all week to see where this ice cream was going to come from and who was going to bring it.
No joke. They’re made up.
“Thank you for being the kind of friends that hear a weird prompt from God and follow it up!”
I mean… seriously?!
That wasn’t God. I even ask Him. Come on. That was just my stomach… wasn’t it?!
In true form, I give Those Friends an honest account of my day and ask for their take on how my prayer was answered; and, in true form, I get a brilliantly honest response back:
“See. Your mood and your faithfulness aren’t closely related. You are still a blessing to God and others even when you’re a grumpy cow bag!”
So… there we have it folks! There is much, much to be grumpy about at the moment. But go ahead… give God your grumps. See what happens!
“His Master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things; I will entrust you with many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)
This week I am still uncomfortable, still low of mood and energy, still in lockdown, still a citizen under an untrusted government, and still unsure of what’s going on… but I am also still the child of a loving, living God; One who not only listens to a three-year-old’s prayers for ice cream, but also hears the unreasonable requests of a frazzled Mum at her wits’ end, apparently!
There’s hope for all of us yet.