Somebody else’s thoughts

Can’t change this feeling
I’m way out of touch
Can’t change this meaning
It means too much
Never felt so lonely
Never felt so good
Can’t be the only one misunderstood?
Because I remind myself of somebody else…

I’m feeling like I’m chasing…
Like I’m facing myself alone
I’ve got somebody else’s thoughts in my head
I want some of my own

Can You see me up here?
Would You bring me back down?
Cause I’ve been living to see my fears as they fall to the ground
I remind myself of somebody else…

Am I hiding behind my doubts?
Are they hiding behind me?
Closer to finding out it doesn’t mean anything
Because I remind myself of somebody else…..


The dying of my dreams

There are times when the reality of who I am and who I want or hope to be is a wide gulf that I cannot seem to cross.

Recently I have felt like I am trapped in the furthest corners of a winter expanse and I feel chilled, unable to feel the light or warmth. I have learnt that there are regular cycles to my depression and I am normally able to see them coming and God allows me to the grace to cope with them and battle through them.

This latest conflict seems the most vicious of all as it involves my dreams and the desires of my heart.

I have for as long as I can remember, wanted to be a husband and a father, despite the divorce and emotional abuse that seems rife in my family tradition. I know that in some circles its is probably deemed a bit unmanly to express such desires but I really don’t give a shit about what others may think of that – I love the idea of being a husband and a dad.

Recently and sadly, I have realized that deep in my heart, I am not sure if I ever believe these things will happen.

A few weeks ago I wrote this poem:

They say you should rage against
The dying of the light
But I rage against
The dying of my dreams

I’ve forgotten what it is
To believe in my dreams
What was once so close to my heart
Seems divided now and conquered

My dreams are beginning to dissipate
Slowly trickling away
Like sand held in my fingers

I barely have the strength to hold on
To fight, to retain the things I once dreamed
Things that were precious and rare
And now fleeting

I seem to fall backwards
Into all that I long to escape
And feel stalled
Unable to move forward
Into that which I desire to claim

I can never forget I have a past
Yet sometimes I can’t imagine I have a future

Like a shooting star
I feel I’m falling
Burning brightly as I go

I’ve had few relationships, in fact adding up all their collective time together brings the total time I have spent in relationships inn my life to 14 months..In 32 years. The truth is that God has been showing me the fallout I have made of some poor choices in these relationships and also how much I have hurt some people I have been out with.
God has and is convicting me about my attitudes, thoughts and actions towards some of the girls I have been out with. I confess that I have done and said things of which I am deeply ashamed and God clearly wants me to deal with these things now and even though its hard, I am grateful.

The problem is that the enemy has got in on the back of my genuine guilt and conviction and has been trying to turn it into shame, thus making me feel that the reason why my few relationships have failed so badly is down to one common denominator; me.

I feel that I have done more harm than good, not just to the girls I went out with but to myself. I feel that I am damaged goods, that if I allow someone to get really close and see the reality of who I am they would run a mile. I feel that whatever chances I have been given, I have totally fucked up beyond measure and feel that I won’t ever be given another chance. That my desires of being a husband and father have been subtly taken from my heart and replaced with lies that it will never happen, or if it does, that it is doomed to fail like every other marriage in my family appears to have done.

A few years ago when in New Zealand, a lovely lady gave me a very vivid picture of my heart. It was completely wrapped in barbed wire. The wire was there to protect the heart and when people tried to touch the heart they got wounded and hurt by the spikes of the wire. The problem was that the heart was being deeply cut and wounded itself by the wire because the wire was wrapped round so tight.

I have come to see that its true; that in my hurt and pain of growing up I have put a a protective barrier round my heart to keep people at a distance in case they find out the reality of me and are disappointed. But the same wire that ‘protects’ my heart also causes it the most hurt as it cuts in deep and prevents me from allowing me to love and be loved.

In the last few days I have felt like God has been speaking directly to my heart saying ‘Why do you find it so hard to let Me love you?’ and ‘Why don’t you believe you will become a husband and a father?’.

I don’t know how to answer that right now..all I know is that I feel angry, tired, and weary; that at times I don’t know if I want to carry on any more. I want so much for the desires of my heart to come true yet seem so afraid of those very things happening.

How can that be? Am I alone in thinking this way?

As I sit here writing this the tears are flowing freely …

I weep at the damage I have done to women in my life whether intentionally or not, I weep over the state of sin in my life and know I am far away from the person that so many think I am, let alone me. I grieve over the fact that I appear not to have noticed that my dreams have been flickering and dying in my heart and I am at a loss as what to do next.

I know that there is a war going on within me and I knew that when I gave my life to Jesus things could be hard. But its been a long and bloody conflict and recently I feel that my wounds are beginning to outweigh my ability to fight.

I seem to have cried so much over things since I became a Christian and I know its a way of pain leaving the body, but sometimes I wonder if this will always be the case for me?. Maybe I am too emotional or maybe its just God’s way of getting through to me?…..I don’t know.

I want so much to be whole, I want so much for even the smallest part of my life to reflect Jesus, I want so much to live a life of purity and integrity, I want so much to be free and I want to be a man who is totally committed to his wife and kids. Right now I feel further away from these things than ever before and I feel they are disappearing over the horizon.

I don’t know what happens next and I don’t know when its going to feel like the storm is easing. Last night just before I went to bed I felt God speak to me for the first time in ages with these words:

Let me love you
As you should do
When the storm is through
You can hold onto
My love

I know
How far you will go
To avoid this show
Of My love

Don’t contemplate
Your fate
As you wait
For My love

What you need
Is the seed
That proves the deed
Of My love

When you feel faint
Under the stain and taint
There will be no restraint
Of My love

What you don’t understand
Is what I hold in My hand
Like grains of sand
Pouring out My love

When you’ve crossed the sea
And come only to Me
Then you will be free
In My love

I am not sure if this is the beginning of the end for me with my struggle over my hearts desires and dreams, but maybe its the end of the beginning…?

Friday through Saturday

Last Friday night was great. A few of us twenty and thirty somethings got together to hang out at One30 bar on Cheltenham Road.

Despite a low turn out (in typical Vineyard fashion!) I like to think it was a quality rather than a quantity evening if you know what I mean.

The tapas was great, the conversation was better and the whole evening was a blast. So my thanks to Greg, Etienne, Nikki, Estelle and Emma for making it a Friday night special!

Saturday started in rudely early fashion with a cooked brekkie with Etienne, Neil and Ruthy and then Etienne and I hooned off to Leigh Woods and Ashton Court on our shiny mountain bike steeds! We did a solid couple of hours of trail blazing before returning dusty and tired.

Later that de-camped to Tim’s couch to watch the Middlesex Sevens rugby and after watching Bristol’s especially inept display (going out in the group stages), I though I would go home for a bit.

The evening was cool as a group of us from work went up to Stroud to have dinner with Jerry and Pat (our director and his wife) -it was a great evening with a fab bbq, good wine, much laughter and really great desserts! And certainly the site of Jerry cooking in a stripey apron is not one I will forget in a while!!!

Cycling and more cycling

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of cycling to Bath and back with Estelle and Etienne. Twas a lovely day despite the stifling humidity and cloudiness.

It was good to re-visit the Bristol to Bath cycle path and they have improved it greatly since I last cycled it many moons ago.

After making good time, we arrived in Bath and had a lovely picnic in Royal Crescent Park (many thanks to Estelle for bringing the food!).

Then we cycled back and it though it was hard work on the old legs, and there were enough cyclists to give the Tour de France a run for its money, it was jolly nice to get out on a bike and be in the countryside with your friends.

On Sunday, for some bizarre reason, I thought that going mountain biking in Ashton Court and Leigh Woods would be a good idea. After 3 hours my legs felt like lead and I came back home to rest my weary bones….

Just one of those songs

Every once in a while, if you are anything like me, you discover a song that you just play all the time and can;t get enough of. As I mentioned the other day, I am really enjoying listening to Mat Kearney right now.

One of his songs is called Crashing Down about how he needs to get out of the way of what God wants to do in his life and how sometimes God has to come crashing down, in order for us to let Him do what He wants. I think lyrically its very cool -certainly its worth checking out.

Crashing Down

These back steps are steeper to the ground
The brightest stars are falling down
I’m walking the edge, walking the tightest rope
We can be frank, reality rips on through, rolling like a hurricane
I’m over the bridge and under the rain

If everything’s falling
If everything’s changed
If I’m in the open, if I’m in the way

What am I doing here
If you’re not with me?
What have I got to live for, if it’s just my own dream?
Take it back to the beginning, back to the start
When gravity’s pulling, You’re still holding my heart
You come crashing down
Crashing down

These four walls are closing in on me
The talk is louder than I’ll sing
I want to be there, want to be where You are
But You know it all, every look and smile that aren’t meant to break
I’m over the bridge and under the rain

If everything’s falling, if everything’s changed
If I’m in the open, if I’m in the way

What am I doing here
If you’re not with me?
What have I got to live for, if it’s just my own dream?
Take it back to the beginning, back to the start
Gravity’s pulling, You’re still holding my heart
You come crashing down,
Crashing down

And You say everything’s different, why don’t we just hold on?

AML @ Love Bristol Festival

Last week AML had the pleasure of being involved in the Love Bristol Festival down in Hengrove.

We had the wonderfall task of being asked to help paint a 120 foot mural that had been designed by Nick Park (of Wallace and Gromit fame) at the Connaught Primary School.

We were told that this was the most “desirable” project at Love Bristol – not sure what that meant, but I guess we got lucky!!

Well we had brilliant weather, great fun and got to serve a community in a small but effective way.

Praise God for the chance to do some social action stuff -even better that all of our company got to do it. Certainly a god chance to explain our faith to those in the company who don’t yet know Jesus.