There’s hope for all of us…!

It’s been a while since my last blog, and alots happened! Two weeks ago I got to preach at St Paul’s, and in the weeks running up to that I had to concentrate on  preparing. I  took a day off for a “Day apart” with Sister Pauline, who runs retreats in the local area. Sitting in a Methodist hall for the day without chatting to anyone, is not how I normally spend my time, but it was really beneficial. During my time there I had a sense of God saying, just put the mistakes and problems of the past behind you, and look forwards. There is nothing to stop you starting a new career in leadership in the church. We were reading about Peter, who after following Christ as one of the disciples, went on to deny him 3 times. This really hurt Christ and Peter, and when Jesus was resurrected, he made a special effort to make things right with Peter, on one of the few times he appeared to the disciples during his resurrection. After that Peter went on to do huge works to spread the gospel and was a tireless supporter of the risen Christ.

So mistakes happen, we all get it wrong, but that doesn’t mean God won’t listen, or help us move on with our lives. For me this was really helpful to hear, as at work I’ve felt that my efforts seem to always lead to the same result, noone noticing my accomplishments, and I’ve felt frustrated by the lack of opportunities around. Many colleagues are jaded due to the constant churn of budget cuts and policy U Turns, and sometimes a new policy can come in that demolishes the work that’s been done by the whole team over the last 5-10 years in one fell swoop. Local government feels really fragile and scary.

I’ve been offered a new job in the NHS which I am planning to accept, which will mean I am leaving .gov.uk after 12 years service (not enough for a gold watch but enough to know its not for me!). I hope to pursue ordination through the Church of England, but in the meantime am moving into a role that I am passionate about, which is the planning and delivery of mental health services for people in York and North Yorkshire.

Sometimes its hard to admit you made a mistake and that working harder, or trying harder isn’t going to work.  Often we have too much on our plate to make space for God, and get to grips with the issues. At church recently we did the following exercise which was really helpful

When you start to pray often we hold our hands out to recieve God’s blessings. However if you turn your hands down first, as you pray, concentrate on emptying your worries into God’s hands, and as you turn them up again, they are then empty ready to receive his blessings and teachings. If you hang on to the pain and suffering this isn’t nearly as easy to do. Making space is hard to do, but I think God will bless any time you can spare to spend with him in prayer. This is one of my favourites.. used by the AA and many people in local government (although it does apply to other walks of life!)

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

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