Hidden treasure

Until today, I have been feeling pretty depressed.  The summer holidays are stretching ahead full of exciting fun things to do, and I’m going to be at work when I could be out there creating “memories” with my kids. The number of different activities they could enjoy just seems endless. Today I had a day off, and took our youngest to see Stick Man which was awesome. In the afternoon, I was really disappointed they didn’t want to join in the soccer coaching in the park, but was amazed when on the way home they played in amongst the shrubs by a pond, and talked to the ducks for half an hour, whilst I sat on a bench and watched. While it was so cool that while all this stuff was happening, ultimately they preferred organising their own entertainment for a while.

Sometimes I think I’ve totallly missed the point of having kids, as I’m so worried about everything I don’t enjoy the moment. My faith is similar, I am caught up at the moment in my journey towards ordination, and find this all pretty challenging. I forget that I am really lucky to have a history of spirituality in my family, (I come from a long line of serious protestants who have “done good”) and sort of take for granted being part of a church community. Today the people I spent time with in the park, who made me most welcome, weren’t the people I see for 5 minutes on a daily basis on the school run, it was a member of the church community I haven’t seen for months, who made time for me, and shared her water with my kids.

I think we are all guilty of this to some extent, if we have a talent or a gift we tend to think of it as an infinite asset that will always be there for us, and we can dust it off whenever we need it. Whether that’s baking amazing cakes, raising children, writing blogs or analysing data, it doesn’t really matter, it’s just a case of using the gifts and talents you have. Why? Well if you don’t practice you forget. I used to be a great piano player in school but nowadays I still remember the basics but can’t play as well as I did.

What has always bugged me about this, is that you don’t always get the gifts and talents that you ask for. I like to imagine myself as a successful entrepreneur, or a housewife. In reality neither of these occupations are my strongest suit. Instead I’m a spiritual leader and proud to provide financially for my family.  In a Disney film, you would be able to wish on a star and it would happen. In kid’s Apps, you click a button and the right piece fits into the jigsaw. In life it’s a case of here’s the weird combination of stuff in your “inventory” (As a mine-craft fan in our house would say), and that’s your lot. Make of it what you can!

I am terrible for trying to guess the end of a film or a book before we’ve got there, but we don’t need to understand everything, or have a full “inventory” because if we trust in God, he can help fill in the gaps and steer us to the right place, the right time where we can shine for all to see.

So here’s to not burying our talents in the ground, but putting them to work in whatever way we can ( I don’t just mean paid work by the way!)

Bye, bye June

I love June, it’s such a lovely time of year, with the long evenings, and flowers blooming. It’s the month I got married, and some of my favourite people have birthdays this time of year. When I was at school it was when we’d normally finished exams and hadn’t got the results, and when we had end of term parties at uni.

I think June is sometimes the best bit of the summer. A bit like getting ready to go out can be more fun than the actual party, sometimes July and August can feel a bit flat after the frenetic race to the end of school term, and the pressure to have an amazing big holiday. Especially if you are working or staying home and normal activities are not around to enjoy.

I hope July is as balmy and beautiful this year as June has been, and looking forward to all sorts of adventures this summer with the family. Like everyone else the prospect of lots of time together is both brilliant and daunting, but I know we are storing up memories for the kids, and for ourselves, for the future, and making the most of the time we have with friends and family and as foursome. I’m trying to learn to curb my inner critic, and enjoy my life more, and to not put too much pressure on myself and my nearest and dearest. In my little bubble, it’s hard to accept my own limitations and those of the people around me, and to acknowledge the gifts we all have rather than thinking about what’s missing. It really helps knowing there are lots of people that love me and care about me when I’m feeling down, and I know that God’s hand is always on me, guiding me, through my life, even when I’m too wrapped up in myself to notice or care, or maybe say thankyou!