I approached this memory keeping week hungry: almost desperate for some resolution to a handful of questions I’d been chewing over for quite some time.
I think it may have been partly because of my desperation that God showed up.
Here’s how He’s been – very much – part of the process so far…
Q. What’s my calling and how does it fit with the Rev’s?
I woke up on Monday morning wondering how such a non-eventful day would make good photo fodder for my project.
It was a Bank Holiday, Faithscrappers was cancelled, and I didn’t have a single thing planned.
Immediately I sensed a response drop into my head,
“Your calling is not what you do, it’s who you are.”
(And as my scrappy friend Jamie commented, “Alrighty then!”)
We did end up visiting a local farm cafe and cuddling the gorgeous Edna, but the rest of my day was spent picking up around the house after a busy weekend.
It occurred to me that tidying and homemaking are things I do an awful lot now and am actually quite good at: could they be part of my calling and gifting too?
Do I undervalue their importance in the running of our lives?
Q. “What is the point of all this creativity?”
I bumped into a church friend in town in the morning and she suggested we go for coffee. I accepted, which is not like introverted old me at all! I came away feeling happy and loved.
As my task list for the day was pretty much limited to cleaning the house, I decided to let Barbie pose for my picture.
I got back to my cleaning, musing about how proud I was of myself for my willingness to move outside of my comfort zone that morning and how much my mood had improved because of it.
As I wiped and pondered, a song lyric dropped into my head:
“Life is your creation.”
“Ooh, that’s good!” I thought, grabbing a pencil to note it down, “Life really is what you make it: I could have said no to that coffee date and not felt nearly so good. I wonder what song that line is from?”
It took me a moment or two to realise that it was from ‘Barbie Girl’ by Aqua.
It was as if God had winked.
As I pondered further later on (and listened to the Crafty Ass Female podcast) the idea came to me that my creativity didn’t need to do anything other than just be.
Scrapbooking was my passion, my obsession, my therapy and my happy place.
It was if I was being reminded to stop trying to turn it into something else or make it somehow work for me, because in trying to do so, I’d risk losing the heart of the very thing that was bringing me so much delight.
“Just enjoy it: it’s your thing.”
Q. How do I capture that elusive sense of belonging, when we’re only going to be in each appointment for a relatively short time?
I started the day by photographing my fun slippers: they’re huge and fluffy and ever so slightly too hot to wear most of the time. But they make me smile and I wanted to include them in my Week in the Life.
As I settled down with my porridge and tea, I opened my Bible to that morning’s Psalm and read,
“You ground my feet and lift my head high.”
I liked the idea of God grounding my feet: it spoke into my questions about itinerancy and belonging very well.
I go into town on Wednesdays: not a single bit of housework gets done!
And it was as I was gazing out of the bus window at the beautiful scenery rolling past, that my attention – and breath – were caught by the most beautiful little hot pink tree outside someone’s house.
It was so stunning – almost unnatural – that I wanted to point it out to the rest of the passengers! (I didn’t).
But it spoke to me of blooming where you’re planted: shining brightly and beautifully wherever you happen to find yourself.
Later on in town, I picked up a cute make-up bag in Boots that had ‘weirdo’ written on it.
As I did, lyrics from the song, “Creep” by Radiohead drifted into my head,
“I’m a creep; I’m a weirdo… what the * am I doing here? I don’t belong here.”
I remembered reading in a book on the Enneagram how we Type Fours could easily have ‘Creep’ as our theme tune. And later on, a friend confirmed that Fours’ biggest struggles are around issues of belonging.
Could God be pointing out that my struggle to belong is quite a large part of how I’ve been created? It gave me food for thought, for sure.
Q. “Will I ever be okay with living in a home that’s not my own?”
I love houses and I love watching property programmes even more.
And it was as I was watching ‘Buying and Selling with the Property Brothers’ (and messing around with my camera so it looked like they were stood on my ironing board – don’t ask) that God coughed again.
The brothers were helping a couple who lived in a house that, on the surface, looked great. But Jonathon soon discovered asbestos, a mice infestation and some of the worst wiring he’d ever seen.
As Drew showed them around a brand new pad, it occurred to me how lucky the couple were to be rescued from their old house and have all the problems taken completely out of their hands.
Much in the same way that God helped us out of one of the toughest life experiences I’ve ever been through (we took four years to sell a house that needed a whole host of problems sorting out; I believe the experience was used by God to prepare me for a life of itinerancy).
Then, as I went to boil the kettle for coffee, I found myself humming, “Changes” by David Bowie. Which was decidedly odd for me, as I’m way more Britney than Bowie.
I googled the lyrics and sure enough, some lines jumped out at me:
“Still don’t know what I was lookin for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I’d got it made.”
In hankering after “the old days,” when I thought that all my dreams would come true the minute I had the perfect house, I was misremembering how things had truly been.
The Egypt we’d been led out of wasn’t actually ‘rather nice’: it was a stressful period that very nearly broke me.
We’d been handed in its place a stunning church house: an entirely secure ‘tenancy,’ with responsibility for not even a single maintenance issue.
Later that day, I was thinking about the lyrics to a Carly Simon song called “With A Few Good Friends,” from the Winnie The Pooh Movie soundtrack.
One of the lines goes,
“With a few good friends, or three, or four,
A house is built where there wasn’t before.”
It reminded me that we were no longer in the business of property renovation; we were now in a different building game – kingdom building.
On the way to lunch, we stopped at the recycling centre (locals call it Harrods) where I picked up this gorgeous pink planter.
And where, incidentally, I spotted an enormous stuffed Winnie the Pooh. Probably just a coincidence.