Letters to a Sister : 37

This is a reply to my sister’s letter, which you can read at:

Dear Ruth,

Thanks for your letter. It’s funny but I was thinking much the same things this week. I don’t think I could choose one word for the year though, for me it would be two : Nothing Lasts.

The same conclusions as you really, it is something I realise more and more as I get older. Nothing lasts. This can be sad, when it refers to friendships, when people I love move or die, when a job I enjoy finishes or a stage of life (like having toddlers. I loved parenting tiny children.) It can be good too, when something’s awful, or we’re ill, or we look at the world and it just seems black and hopeless. Nothing lasts.

I had a terrible night on Wednesday, I just couldn’t sleep. I think I spent the whole night awake and worrying. Usually I’m an excellent sleeper – 10:30 to 7am, straight through with no wake ups. If I can’t sleep I put on a story in Chinese and it distracts me enough that I sleep almost instantly. (Husband gave me headphones for Christmas. I am thinking it might not be the same for him.) But Wednesday I started worrying and then couldn’t sleep. All night.

I had all kinds of different worries bubbling around my head. Church has had lots of people move away and we can’t find enough people to fill all the gaps and I’m worried I wont cope with everything I have agreed to do. My book is on the way to being published but I’m worried that no one will buy it, that it’s not good enough, that friends will laugh at me. I hate self-promotion, I just can’t do it, so the thought of having to ask people to buy my book is terrifying. I also had agreed to drive the boys back to uni, which is a long drive, longer than I have driven since brain surgery. Worried I would get too tired, worried about staying in a motel (very scary), worried I would get lost in big Northern cities. Worry, worry, worry, buzzing round my brain.

The next morning I was reading Psalm 8 (you remember I am studying the Psalms at the moment?) Anyway, it just made me cross! It begins by talking about God, his glory, how he put the stars in place with his hands, how even tiny children praise him, etc. “That’s nice,” I thought, “but it doesn’t exactly fill up the Sunday School rota with names of willing volunteers. It doesn’t help me much.”

Then I realised that actually it did, actually it took all those worries away. If I believed in a God who placed the stars, then surely I believed that he could cope with a rota of names? Surely I could leave the problem with him? It just wasn’t MY problem, none of my worries were. They were his.

All I have to do is live each day as well as I can. To live in the present – which kind of comes back to what you were saying. I have to live each day as best as I can, which might mean editing my book or asking people to help with some job at church. But as long as I do that right, in the best way I can, then I am only answerable to God. The bigger problem is his and I can just dump it with him and get on with my day, with my ‘now’, my ‘present’.

Perhaps my word should be ‘Trust’. Except I’m not quite holy enough to do that very well, so I’ll leave it with ‘nothing lasts’.

Hope you have a good week. Hope woodpecker doesn’t destroy your house (your house is made of wood, right?)

Take care,
Anne xx

PS: News in brief:
The rats are back. More annoying than I can say. Have found new holes in the duck aviary. Have put down traps and discussed with cats.

We’ve had lots of rain. Loads of it. Makes walking dog each day very unpleasant. Squelching through sodden fields is grim. So is the amount of mud that seems to find its way into my kitchen. Hens are very cross and refuse to leave their perch some days.

I still have a Christmas tree up – the artificial one that I refuse to have anything to do with. The ornaments are gone but the tree remains. I think husband thinks I haven’t noticed. Am saving discussion for when I’ve done something wrong and need some leeway. Shouldn’t be long.


Thank you for reading.

If you enjoyed this, why not sign up to follow my blog?

Image 16


Who do you trust?


What do you trust? As in, really trust, not the ‘wearing my lucky socks for an interview’ kind of trust but the kind of trust we had when we were tiny. I’ve been thinking about it recently.

When we were little, Mum and Dad always took us on those camping holidays didn’t they. We never had any input into where we went or what we did, we just trusted that we would be safe and have a nice time. I remember we used to load the car with all our stuff and sit on heaps of blankets, driving for hours through the country to a windy campsite where we would all help to put up the tent and unload the car. I think, when I was small, I looked forward to them. When I was bigger, I longed for a caravan. (I have now promised myself that I will never have to camp again. Ever.) But when we were tiny, we loved it. We also had complete, unquestioning trust in Mum and Dad. That’s the kind of trust I’m thinking about.

I started thinking about it because I was reading the bit in the Bible about Jesus in Gethsemane, just before he is arrested and then killed, the bit where he is praying. He prays, “….not as I will but as you will.” That is complete trust. He has told God that he does not want to die, to go through all the suffering. Then he says that what he wants more than anything is that God’s will be done. He knows that ultimately, that is for the best. Have you ever felt that? Ever had complete trust in God or someone else? Since we were tiny I mean (little children are good at trust. Perhaps because they don’t see the dangers or perhaps because they have no choice.)

The only time I’ve come even slightly close was just before I had brain surgery. I was sitting in the rocking chair on the landing, praying about it. All the doctors had talked to me about the possibility of dying or waking up disabled – not in a ‘worst case scenario, not likely to happen’ sort of way but in a ‘this is possible (but you’ll die if we don’t do it, so there is no option but to take the risk)’ sort of way. It was a real possibility and that REALLY helps you to focus on God and praying and asking for his help.

Anyway, there I was, praying, asking God to make sure I didn’t die and I felt him talking to me. That doesn’t happen very often, but I guess he knew this was important. He told me I needed to trust him. Not trust him that I wouldn’t die, but trust him that whatever his will was, it was for the best. I felt he was asking me what I would choose. If my dying meant that my children would be saved, would I choose that? Of course I would, any mother would. Then I realised that I don’t see the whole picture, only God does. Maybe my dying or being left paralysed would be what was best – not in the short term for me, but in the long term, in the eternal picture sort of way. I had to trust not that God would let me live but that God’s will, whatever that was, would be done.

Just as I was having these thoughts/prayers, the phone rang. It was a friend phoning to say he would be praying that I would have a successful operation. I told him that instead he should pray that God’s will should be done. I find that happens sometimes, God never forgets that we are human, physical beings, sometimes we need to say and do things to make them definite, real, so we don’t forget them.

As you know, I didn’t die. But I think the trust bit was important.

When we have a crisis of health, or someone we love dies or when awful things happen, like the terrorists actions in Paris, it makes us realise that trusting ourselves isn’t enough, we need someone bigger to rely on. It is important that we place our trust wisely. Bad things happen. Do we trust God to bring some good out of it? That his plan is bigger than all the nasty stuff that we see in life?

It was fairly recent, but I have already lost that ability to completely trust. I am thinking about my book, my hope to be an author. I am praying that God will help me get published. But what if that isn’t his will? Do I trust him that his way is better? That’s pretty hard in normal everyday life. Plus, how do we know what his will is? I guess sometimes (usually in my case) we don’t. I didn’t know what his will was when I had the operation, I had to take the advice of people who knew better than me about physical things (the surgeons) and trust that God would be in control of the outcome.

Sometimes we have to walk along the route that seems to be laid out and just trust and pray that God’s will be done.



Thank you for reading.

If you found this interesting, why not sign up to follow my blog?