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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

On my way

Well, the antibiotics have run their course. Did some good it seems but not enough SO it's more tests for me. Woohoo.

Means I'm not 100% - still getting bouts of pain and still need to pace myself.

On the plus side, I am feeling a LOT better than I was. Which is rather nice.

Also on the plus side, I have but 600 words left to write of my dissertation! :-) Which means I'm on course to get it bound tomorrow and handed in on Friday.

Who'd have thought it eh?! I was just writing the acknowledgements...But quite simply all I really wanna say is thankyou to my Father. With Him, ALL things are possible! Yes that's right, even dissertations...

and even getting back to full health, for that matter...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I actually find this stuff cool...

Maybe I've spent too much time in bed, but I thought this was really cool! Here's mine..

Got this from Kath. Hers is cool too. Ed's has a lot more stuff about the Bible than me, but I particularly like the fact that Welshie is so big in mine. Oh, and grace...! ;-)

Got this from Ed. Wasn't as much fun as I expected it to be, but that's because I'm sulking at who I came out as! Although, they reckon I look like Elvis...(no, I am NOT showing you the photo I uploaded!)

One question...Ed, Kath, WHERE do you find these things?! Very tempted to get a blog word cloud tshirt tho...


So I woke up today feeling tired, with just a little bit of pain but generally GOOD. Praise the Lord, coz I've had a busy few days so to be feeling pretty good is amazing.

And then I trundled back to the docs. Could do that walk in my sleep now! Which is just as well coz I was half asleep this morning, haven't got up that early for a while!

Apparently I have a urine infection (so no, there was no need for that nasty blood test yesterday after all!)

I won't go into all the details of why it's taken them so long to discover it. But I am now in the possession of some antibiotics which are gonna kill all the nasty little bugs. Mwahahaha.

What's caused it? I dunno, I think maybe the English water has finally gotten to me...need some good ol' Brecon Carreg!

I still need to take it slow for a while but woohoo we're getting somewhere.

And I have MUCH to praise God for. Please join me! He rocks.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Just call me a pin cushion...


Yesterday was fun! I left for my Relay interview a mixture of both scared and excited, but also just so thristy for God's glory.

The interview passed relatively pain-free, another plus point! I did have a lot of pain on the way home and spent the rest of the day in bed but there we go.


Wasn't looking forward to today! At 10am I trundled over to the health centre (quickly becoming my new home) for a blood test. Now, the last blood test I had was in the hospital and was NOT a very nice experience. In fact, it was just plain horrible.

Today... two nurses, 30 minutes and 3 needles later some blood was finally removed from my arm! (Apparently I have very sensitive veins! Either that or they're just very protective of my blood!)

Needless to say that left me feeling pretty rubbish. But the nurse told me the day could only get better. And you know what, it has!

Came home and Jenny brought me cake. Issy made me laugh so hard I cried, which made the pain worse but was worth it to laugh like that! Kat popped in to say hello and brought me a present. Made up for the needles already!

But there's more!

Went with Ed to have dinner at Hoops' house. (So I didn't even have to cook! Bargain!) No sonner had we started talking about our Relay interviews and Relay in general than Ed gets a phone call from Bish to say he's been accepted onto Relay for next year...and then comes my phone call! (I've been accepted too!)


God rocks.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Relay interview...

In less than an hour!

Argh! Yay! Argh! Yay!

Scared! Excited! Scared! Excited!

What am I?!

A child of God...

And breathe...!

Monday, March 20, 2006

A new commandment...

Notes from Jonathan Stephen’s sermon yesterday morning. I really hope there’s nothing unsound here, but if there is, it’s entirely my bad notetaking.

John 13:31-38

Verses 31-32. There’s a lot of glory mentioned in these verses! What is the chief end of man?
“To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

The cross was the supreme glory moment. The Son is glorified in the Father and the Father is glorified in the Son.

It was a very lonely path to the cross. Nobody else could do it.

Jesus here begins to prepare His disciples for life after He has gone.

The way the passage reads, we could take out verses 34-35 and it wouldn’t make a difference, it would still make sense. And Peter seemingly ignores those verses too! His question in verse 36 relates back to Jesus’ statement in verse 33.
Why has Peter ignored two of the most precious verses in the Bible?!
Because he’s so distracted by the idea that he cannot go with Jesus, so concerned that Jesus is questioning his commitment (“I will lay down my life for you” – verse 37), so wrapped up in himself…

Peter is ignorant, arrogant and self confident and this leads to him missing something very important that Jesus wants to tell him. We need to remember that we cannot do anything in our own strength. The stronger we think we are, the less we achieve, the more we put distance between us and our Saviour.

We need to be less, Jesus needs to be more.

Love is part of the fruit of the Spirit and we will never obey this great command unless we are full of the Spirit.

“A new commandment…” – What’s new abut this command? In Leviticus we’re told the Law says to “love you neighbour as yourself”, and Jesus summarised the whole Law using this and one other commandment. So what’s new?

1. It’s new as far as who they are to love
The disciples already knew they were to love their neighbour, and they knew who their neighbour was. But there is a special kind of love to be reserved for fellow believers. “Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love” – our unity is to reflect the unity of the Godhead. It’s a greater unity than that of race or family. The ties of grace are stronger than the ties of blood.
This isn’t easy. And it’s impossible to obey without the power of the Holy Spirit overflowing in our hearts.

2. It’s new in how they were to love
The old Law said to love your neighbour as well as you love yourself. But now – as Jesus loves us. How does He love us?
Sacrificially:- We’ll never take in the full extent of this. “Greater love has no man than this…” How do we do that? Anything is going to be a pale reflection of Jesus’ sacrificial love but I must reflect it as best I can. We get this so wrong. For example, very often our first question when joining a church is “What can I get out of this?” Christian love and unity is about what we can give. The unselfishness of the love of Christ. People you don’t get on with – do something for them, invest in their lives a little, and you’ll be surprised at how you start to care for them.
Feelingfully:- Jesus wept when his disciples wept and rejoiced when they rejoiced.
Intimately:- We’re very often ‘once bitten, twice shy’. But Jesus doesn’t put up barriers. He gives himself to his disciples.
Permanently:- Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Let nothing separate Christian from Christian.

3. It’s new because of why they were to love
The reason in the Old Testament was “because I have redeemed you, therefore you should love”. They were to love because of a physical redemption from physical slavery. We, however, have been delivered from spiritual slavery, from an even greater bondage at an even greater cost. And also because we’re a small band of people in a hostile and fallen world. Therefore it is necessary and natural to band together. “I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.” If the world hates us, we need to love one another. Always ask “Am I being faithful/loving/obedient?” ALWAYS question your own motives first, before, if necessary, questioning the motives of others.
And because of verse 35 – the result. “All men” includes you, so you could say “by this you will know that you are my disciple”. Also includes fellow believers. You may have theological differences but still truly love, and express that love. The supreme badge of the Christian is not orthodoxy but love. Don’t have to separate the two though. In fact don’t.
You can never separate the truth and love. Never lose love.
But the main burden of verse 35 is unbelievers. This love is a fantastic evangelistic tool.
Unity is about the gospel. “See how they love one another” – what a testimony that is and more powerful than words (though we must use words as well) – the kind of love that Jesus showed to us.

Related blogpost:- Unity in a Christian Union?

Can't sleep...

I should be in bed, I know, but I really can't sleep.

I went to church this morning!!! It's been too long. I knew it was gonna be hard but I was longing to share in fellowship, I was longing to sit and be taught from God's word.

It WAS hard. The first half-hour was very painful and uncomfortable and I just wanted to go home, but I desperately wanted to be there too. Felt rubbish for just not wanting to be there and was praying God would help me focus - He did, the pain subsided! Still there but much more bearable and I think taking notes just helped me to ignore it too!

But I was completely and utterly exhausted by the time I got home. I wanted to keep myself awake for the rest of the day so that I'd get a good night's sleep tonight, what with placement tomorrow...

So I had a very pleasant visit from Jenny which brightened the afternoon and then I watched a DVD...then I stuck on one of John Piper's sermons but I just couldn't stay awake any longer (I know Bish and Ed will be shocked I managed to fall asleep during one of Piper's sermons!)

I was actually quite gutted, really wanted to listen to it. Woke up just at the was 6pm by now! Decided resistance was futile and went back to sleep.

Woke at 8 and have been wide awake ever since! Pain's coming and going.

So, I think it's no placement for me tomorrow. Another setback. Thing is, I know tomorrow I'll probably feel fine, so I feel bad for not going and I really need to make up the sessions I've missed.

But hey, the guy who made the universe is looking after me. What have I got to worry about?!

Friday, March 17, 2006

The puzzle continues...

Doc didn't have much to say, though didn't think she would 'cause we're still waiting for test results.

She has, however, suggested another blood test to test the one thing we haven't tested yet! Can't believe there's something she HASN'T actually tested for...!

More needles. Ergh, I'm only just losing the bruises from 2 weeks ago!

Oakes is back in town...

Have been since late Wednesday afternoon but I think most people know that by now! Little slow in the update, sorry!

Still not 100% but much better than I was, praise the Lord!

Walked to campus and back yesterday! Furthest I've walked in the past two weeks. Sat there for an hour with a friend and came back...a little bit of pain, well, discomfort!

Then I did a bit of work, had some food and lay in bed for nearly two hours before going to the end of the CU meeting to see people. I was in quite a bit of pain while I was there which took me by surprise 'cause I'd been feeling SO much better and by the time I got home (thanks for the lift, Nu!) I was absolutely shattered! Which again took me by surprise...

But it was worth it just to see people again and hear what's been going on with them...and hugs all around!

But it did make me realise that walking to psychology for a 9am tutorial was probably not a good idea this morning, so I'm not! Going back to the doctor's later, so we'll see what she says and I'll give you another update. Until then, here's a verse for the day...

I lift up my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lessons learnt...

Read me first!

I hope I've learnt some lessons from that experience. Some of them I've learned before, but it seems I need to be constantly reminded. If I ever look like I'm forgetting again, please bash me with a rugby ball or summat and make me remember...

1. Pride is BAD!!! (And God doesn't need me!)
I could call myself 'experienced', having been a Christian for a good long while, most of my life in fact. But that puts the focus on me to be able to deal with life and all it encompasses. The more experience you feel you have, the less you feel the need to rely on others. BAD!
And I was rubbish during Hope week. I couldn't motivate myself to have conversations with people (NB: big mistake, trying to motivate yourself instead of letting the gospel motivate you...) And yet, lo and behold, people still became Christians! And people in my very hall came back to God, and others started asking questions. Well, well, well...

2. Time with God is PARAMOUNT.
During a 10 day stretch, with Hope week smack bang in the middle, I had about 7-8 hours, spread out, where I was totally by myself (that includes sleeping, coz I had various people staying in my room!). Some of that time was spent with God, but most of it was spent doing work, filling in my Relay form, checking emails...not good! As much as it's fantastic to spend time with people and enjoy fellowship, if you don't set aside time to be alone with God you suffer. And to be honest, He deserves it, and it's just the better thing to do...

Did you know that God LOVES us?! Like, properly even calls us his CHILDREN?! I mean, the creator of the universe calls me, even after seeing me turn my back on Him and seeing my utter worthlessness, his daughter!!! And there's nothing I can do to make Him love me less or make Him love me more. He just LOVES me. He's lavished His grace on me!

4. The battle is already won.
Keep an eternal perspective. Jesus has defeated death. This life presents momentary and passing troubles. One day we'll be in heaven!

5. God deserves my praise - ALWAYS.

**WARNING!!** Painfully honest post alert...

There's been a shocking abundance of people taking their eyes off the ball in this year's RBS 6 Nations Rugby Tournament. Most notably this past weekend - Wales just lost their focus against Italy and, shock horror!, so did England against France! (Sorry, couldn't resist the dig!)
What's perhaps more unbelievable, or frustrating even, about these events is that these are world class players (yes, even the English). They are experienced. They KNOW that taking your eye off the ball is a rookie mistake, a mistake which can - and often does - have drastic consequences.
When you have the ball in your possession and you're focused on the tryline you're strong. When you glance away for even a second you leave youself wide open to an attack by the opposition from which you may never recover. The shock of one attack leaves you reeling and before you know it another one hits. Your only chance is to learn from what's just happened and keep your focus - and not on the recent attack, but on the finish, on your gameplan. When you lose focus, or your focus changes, you lose the game.

Ok, so there's an analogy here. (Trust me, being Welsh, to find an analogy between rugby and the gospel...!)

I've been through a bit of a spiritual struggle of late. It all started around the beginning of Hope week, actually. I found myself with a lot on my mind - work, people, circumstances, future - and not enough time to deal with it. I found myself almost completely without motivation for Hope week - which certainly took me by surprise! Strike 1.
I found myself, for most of the week, just wanting to be alone (again, NOT like me!), but I didn't have (or create) this option, and that weighed down on me too. Strike 2.
I told one friend that as silly, or dramatic, as it sounded, I felt like I was under attack.
Somewhat paradoxically in that week I also had moments of feeling real, pure joy at seeing people come to know the Lord Jesus and I praised God for it - but I knew my heart wasn't fully right with Him. A strange state to be in.
But bottom line - I'd lost focus. I'd taken my eyes off the cross and instead of laying my burdens down at Jesus' beautiful feet and letting Him kick them into touch I struggled alone in the scrum. And I was trampled!
And here's the thing - when you're looking down at the ground trying to drive the enemy back in your own brute strength you can't see what's going on around you.
Bottom line - I wallowed! The less time I spent with God just me and Him, the more I struggled to keep my focus on the cross and on the hope of the party that is to come...and the less I could see the wonderful things going on around me, all the things He was doing.

By the end of the week things were better but not right. I feel like I'm still shaken, I still have the bruises, but my focus has changed now. It isn't on my situation, on the fact that the opposition seems to outnumber me, but it's on Jesus. It's on His cross.
It's on heaven - that's the tryline I'm running towards, with grace powering my every step.
No doubt I'm gonna get tackled again, but I pray the lessons from this recent challenge will stay with me forever. That I'll put on the armour of God, submit myself to Him, and praise Him all the way.

Judging by my performance these past few weeks I should be on the bench. But praise God that He selects us for His team not on our merits, but by His grace. "Amazing grace, which saved a wretch like me...twas grace which brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."


Friday, March 10, 2006

Croeso i Gymru

That's 'Welcome to Wales'...

So, I'm home! Determined now that the Welsh air is all I need to get me back on my feet...hehehe.

The trip home wasn't, praise God, as uncomfortable or painful as I thought it might be. But that said, sitting up in a car for 2 hours when you haven't sat up for more than 20 minutes in over a week does have its drawbacks.

I did manage to get here without a further trip to casualty. Although the journey clearly took its toll - arrived home around 5pm-ish, via a quick hello to my Nana who lives down the road. The settee became my new home. Fell asleep just after 7pm, woke at 10, went to bed at 11 and slept till 9:30 this morning! And I've just had another nap!

Quite ridiculous and I'm getting very bored of this whole being ill malarky now! I'm aiming to go back to Reading next week as I have much to catch up on and placements to organise etc. However, have to keep reminding myself that I can't rush straight back into things as soon as I feel the tiniest bit better. Slowly, slowly... (can you believe this is ME talking?!)

Whatever, His grace is sufficient. Wow.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006



Not a lot happening really. I still can't walk further than, well, St Pats, without being in pain. Still waiting for a scan. Still need to work. Still got wonderful people visiting/texting/ringing/emailing...praying! Still got little energy. Still got bruises from those nasty needles!

Still know that God is good...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Assessment Bay 10

Well, as some of you may know I spent just over 3 hours in A&E last night...

I'm fine, praise God. Well, I will be! And I'm certainly heaps better than I was last night. Praise God for taking away the pain!

And praise Him for friends! I've been very well prayed for and looked after. Some (ok, most!) have used this as yet another opportunity to tell me I need to slow down. I don't know what was wrong with me last night, nobody seems to know what it was or what caused it. I'm inclined to think it's not that I've been doing too much - partly coz I'm just plain stubborn! - but partly coz I haven't been as busy lately as I have previously...but maybe that's just the stubborn part of me looking for an excuse to keep hurtling along at a silly speed.

What I DO know is that God was totally with me last night and took away the pain. I know that I don't need to know what it is - that He does and is in control. I'm also starting to REALLY know that I DO need to slow down...

This, the 'Word for Today' reading from yesterday (which I read today!), really challenged me.

"If you are serious about pursuing a deeper relationship with God you will constantly battle with - hurry. The great danger is not that we will renounce our faith, but that we will become so distracted by lesser things that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. Nobody was more in demand than Jesus, yet He regularly withdrew from activity for the sake of solitude and prayer. He was busy, but never stressed out and He taught His disciples that too. Listen: ' The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest." For there was coming and going, they didn't even have time to eat.' (Mark 6:30-31, The Message). Sound familiar? It is because hurry kills love that it's the great enemy of your soul. Hurry lies behind much of our anger. It prevents us from receiving love from the Father and giving it to those who need it. That is why Jesus never hurried.
The truh is, as much as we complain about it, we are drawn to hurry. It makes us feel important. It keeps the adrenaline pumping. It means we do not have to look too closely at our hearts. It keeps us from feeling our loneliness. So what is the cure? Solitude! After spending 40 days alone on a mountain with God, Moses returned to the people with a) clear direction, b) new strength, c) the assurance that God was with him. Are you feeling drained? 'There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.' (Hebrews 4:9) "


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant!

Or, Happy St David's Day! I'm doing the cultural presentation at Cafe tonight, how exciting!

Also, it's a very special day for another reason. This is my 100th post! Wow. Do I get a card from the Queen?!

It's been a long time...

...shouldna left you, left you without a blog post to read through, read through read through....

hehe sorry. Am I showing my age there?!

Ahem. Anyway...

It has been a while (could break into song again). Sorry bout that. Partly work, partly not having more than 6 hours time to myself in over a week. That's just crazy.

I had planned to live blog Hope 2006, RUCU's events week, but seeing as Ed didn't manage it either I don't feel so bad now...! ;-)

There will be many more thoughts on Hope 2006, and life in general, to follow, when this week is over and I have a weekend where I'm not booked up. Amazing!

For now, I had these thoughts running through my head as I walked to campus this morning. There's two reasons they appear here - firstly, I thought maybe writing them down would make it easier to make more sense of them and secondly, I've been told to update my blog! So there we go...

Ok so I had a bit of a deep conversation with a friend of mine the other night, and we started talking a little bit about truth. It's one of those subjects I LOVE to talk about but at the same time, feel totally out of my depth when it comes to the logical/philosophical arguments surrounding truth...

But as I pondered it a bit more today these thoughts ran through my mind.

We live in a hyper-politically-correct culture, and as a product of such people are so afraid of offending each other that, in fact, I'm offended! People tell me "oh it's ok for you to believe that, I respect you, I understand, I totally think that's great for's just not for me." They bend over backwards to make sure that I'm not offended by the fact that they don't believe the same thing as me. I've had a couple of these conversations recently and actually, what I really wish is that people would stop sugarcoating it and just tell me what they think. Tell me what they believe.
But this is the thing. We're offended by the concept of absolute truth. We're offended because in our hyper-politically-correct-don't-offend-anyone-but-respect-everyone's-views-to-the-extreme kinda culture we've created our own versions of truth, and we've said it's ok. We're not perfect (sorry if that offends you) and so our versions of truth aren't perfect either. By definition, in fact, a 'version' of the truth can never be perfect because it is not truth itself.

If we compare our version of truth to somebody else's, without first of all deciding that everyone is entitled to their own take on life and nobody's wrong, then we stand to be offended. And the thing is, we don't like to be offended. If somebody offends us, they suggest we're wrong. We don't like being wrong. If we're wrong, we're not perfect. We don't like not being perfect. If we're not perfect, then things won't always be great for us. We don't like that, because if things won't always be great, and we're not perfect, and we get things wrong then how do we make things right? If we can't make things right, does that mean there's someone who can? If someone can who are they? And if that someone exists, doesn't that mean we have to rely on them? But if we have to rely on them doesn't that mean we're not independent? And if we're not independent then that means we're not in control of our lives. And that's just plain unacceptable, isn't it...

And so, instead of the mental minefield that is the above thought process, we've cut ourselves off and created a way to avoid offence. But aren't we fooling ourselves? There's a difference between respecting someone/being polite and sensitive to their beliefs, and doing that to the point of refusing to stand for what you believe in.

Yes, we're fooling ourselves. Which is why when we compare our versions of truth to the perfect, shining absolute Truth, of course we'll be offended. That's why people are offended by the gospel. The gospel doesn't say "Ah, yes, interesting, I can see where you're coming from and I wholly understand your viewpoint, I'd just prefer to still do things my way, but you carry on, what you're doing obviously works for you, great!". The Gospel says, Jesus says, "I am THE way, THE truth and THE life." It says we're sinners. Ouch.

Yes, it offends me. When I stand myself next to Jesus I'm offended to the core of my being by my sin and imperfection and I don't want to look, I don't want to see myself for who I am and I'd much rather pretend that I can make my own way in life, with my own happy version of truth.

But here's the thing. Truth is SO much better than any muddled up version of it. Truth says that I'm a sinner, but it also says there's hope. Truth says that I can't do this on my own, that without God I'm nothing....but it also says that WITH Him I have everything I need.

The Bible is true. Jesus is Lord. This is absolute truth, I'm absolutely certain. No corrupted version of it will do.

Be offended. Be humbled. Be changed.