Daring to Hope.

"There comes a point where it all becomes too much. When we get too tired to fight anymore. So we give up. That's when the real work begins. To find hope where there seems to be absolutely none at all"
- Grey's Anatomy
I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point I became pretty despondent about life in Worcester. I think I got tired of it hurting and I just switched off. I guess the simplest way of summing it up is that I have a lot of hope for my future, but feel pretty hopeless about my present.

I've written this post quite a few times and during that time my heart has changed from believing my lack of faith causes me to be hopeless, to a point where I realise that believing in hope - even when you feel hopeless - is the very definition of faith.

Faith: complete trust or confidence in something based on spiritual conviction
One of the times when I feel most connected with God is during sung worship; be that alone at home whilst I do the housework, at ch…

Dear church...

So it's be a long time since I last managed to publish anything...many a post lies in my drafts, but for fear of judgement and rejection they remain just that...and it's got me thinking. The church does long term illness so badly. I am sure there are pockets of people out there who've worked it out and do it well...but the majority of my friends with long term conditions (physical or mental) have been hurt and damaged by the church and that makes me so incredibly sad. I believe it comes from ignorance, and I hope it's not intentional so it's time for me to speak up...

How do you love and care for someone who won't get better?
1. Keep them in community. When living with long term illness - small group may be the only social contact a person has in a week. Living with long term illness is isolating and lonely. Please don't isolate us further.
2. Keep in contact. A simple text can make a very big difference. We believe we are a burden and may find it hard to r…

"Your story's far from over...your journey's just begun."

This song has been my anthem in the past month. I am facing a lot of pain right now and trying to envision a way forward and a life beyond it. A lot of the time I can't see a way forward and ultimately, I have had to admit that I am desperately vulnerable right now.

But in the midst of this desperation? I lie and listen to this on repeat. I immerse myself in the truth and the hope it offers me.

Just let that word wash over you
It's alright now
Love's healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
'Cause your story's far from over
And your journey's just begun"

Immediately after New Wine this year I chose to actively reject God. I was so hurt by the humans and the circumstances around me that I chose to reject Him too. I chose to try and believe that He was letting me hurt and that He would hurt me too. In reality, God's love is different to the love of humans. His love is utterly overwhelm…

The best is yet to come.

I am having what I guess could be referred to as a "crisis of faith". After months of really struggling to cling to a faith that was faltering and a God who seemed absent I went to New Wine looking for refreshment...or even just a hint that I should keep on keeping on. Instead, I got poorly. Which quite frankly sums up my year. I feel far poorlier day to day than at this point last year and that is pretty hard to come to terms with at the age of 24. Whilst I rationally and academically don't believe God wished me to be so poorly at New Wine, the emotional side of me feels punished, forgotten, neglected. And as a result I'm finding it hard not to reject faith altogether.Since getting home I've avoided church, my bible and journal are untouched. My house is no longer filled with worship music but the faith-filled art work remains on the walls. However, despite this I have been followed by one phrase throughout the past few months..."The best is yet to come...&…

What's in a name?

My name is Laura. It's the name I was given 24 years ago when I was born. But recently, through studying Ruth I've been prompted to think about all the other things I have "named" myself and defined myself with over the years.

I am a nurse. A carer. Lover of babies. Reader. Saved by grace. A friend. Loved. A creative. Knitter. Chatterbox. Writer. Wonky bodied. Redeemed. Forgiven. And many more - but I am also...

Fat. A burden. Ugly. A failure. Unworthy. Anxious. Depressed. And this list too could go on.

I so often tend to cling to the negative names and dwell on the tough parts of life and forget the first list of things. Reading Ruth I realised I am often like Naomi...I take the name of "Mara" or bitterness. At the moment, I am physically and emotionally exhausted; my current placement on a mental health unit is really challenging me and like Naomi there are definitely times where I can't possibly imagine getting through this or how God will possibly s…

"Be strong and courageous..."

So my last post ended, what next? And the past month has revealed an answer to that.

Since starting University (again...) in September, I've been in therapy trying to address some of the issues that keep me stuck in a cycle of  recovery and relapse with my mental health. The thing is...I am capable of living and functioning like a normal person, but that doesn't change the distressing mess that occurs inside of my brain. So, in reality - the times when I'm "recovered"? I'm actually just well enough to hide what's going on beneath the surface.

That in itself has been really difficult to come to terms with. Life has been very challenging over the years and the past significantly dictates how I am currently living in the present. My dysfunctional relationship with food, my incredibly poor body image, my crippling anxiety and need to feel safe, my constant need for affirmation and reassurance, the inability to rest and just be.

Next is some really hard heart …

Bend and Break

I sit at the back of church. I am broken and I am hurting but I cannot be vulnerable again. I'm tired of the same old vulnerabilty, the same old tears, the same old reassurances that "it won't always be like this"..."it's part of His plan". Whose plan? How do I trust in a plan when I feel like I'm forgotten and dying?

You know when your debit card expires and you bend it back it and forth until it breaks? I feel kind of like that. I feel like expired in August 2014 and I have been irreparably changed since. I feel like I've been stretched and bent and I am in so many little broken pieces I can't ever imagine being whole again.

I can't worship openly or genuinely because all that would consist of is tears. I go to church, I sing the words (sometimes), I do what others expect and want of me. Today, this evening I couldn't even honestly tell you who I'm supposed to be worshipping. Academically yes...but it has been SO long since I h…