(I'm currently redesigning the blog, as I do often; and I'm stuck on a background & theme. Watch this space for a better... look.)

Friday, 29 November 2013

What happens when I don't have a post plan

I know, that last post was disappointingly short. Oh, the irony.
Perhaps I will dwell on the weather, or my latest TV interests. Whinge about the fact that it is only snowing on the ad breaks, and for the happy families of Tesco customers. Britain loves Christmas! So unashamedly! Maybe it's just my family, but I always thought everyone felt that carols, Santa, trees, and fake snow were hateful things that could only be (barely) tolerated in December. OK that's an exaggeration. But maybe it's because it's home to the white Christmas (is it?). And Charles Dickens. Anyway, I'm with the right people in order to do the proper English thing. Even carol singing! Perhaps I should buy a white hand muff.

Needless to say, it's cold here. Not bitterly. And I like my coat. But the afternoons! They are four hours long. Then it's dark. That's right, close the curtains and turn on the lights. After you've seen the squirrel climb up the house to chill in the loft. Squirrels have this speedy but graceful way of swimming along the ground. Kind of like a mermaid would, but with more bounce and a bushier tail. I still haven't seen a badger or a hedgehog. But I have seen foxes.

And Facebook has taken over a bit, as I knew it would. But if it means I can keep up with even a few of my much loved friends back home, then I don't care.

I am so happy here. I feel like I've been back much longer than a week. I don't love the job hunting process, but it's just one of those things.
This might not come as much of a surprise, though it is a shame. Since my big update I haven't come very far with God. I haven't had one quiet time or done anything out of the ordinary except sing. But I just keep asking God to help me. I know I need to just knuckle down and get into it, instead of sit around waiting for a big enormous indescribable feeling or a shiny cloud to show me what I need to know (which is what I've been doing for years). But the devil still has so much power over my thoughts. "You're just wanting to be Christian again for security. You still don't believe in God, but you want to because your favourite people do." And now I can't bring any other lies to mind, is that him shutting them off so I can't fight them? Or is it true, am I fake? Is God real?

I've had this thing lately where I want to get myself sorted and work through my whole life and deal with all the issues I've got by writing everything down, and so become a well-rounded all-figured-out person, with no baggage and no complexes... HELLO! Is that not the dumbest thing you've ever read? As if I could do that. As if I could recall all the crap one experiences and resolve it on my own and get on with life with no regrets or burdens. It's a nice thought, that I could be totally weightless in order to help others and give infinitely, and make the perfect friend and maybe even wife one day...

...All my Christian friends be like: "Um, Jess? Have you forgotten everything you learnt in church? Jesus does that FOR us! Bit by bit, of course, and we won't be perfect until we reach heaven, but you know that you ought to just lay it all before him and he'll sort it!"

Oh yeah. Man, God must be mighty patient.

3014 Words on a British November

Guy Fawkes preparation 

There he is! Not really.


Thursday, 21 November 2013


It's that time again! Now that I'm back in England I am free to write... freely. Well I guess I could have done a couple of happy holiday posts while I was in Australia, but I was having too much of a nice time! Besides which I had nothing to whinge about...

Flying is awful. I do not enjoy it. Whilst I loved every minute of being back home (that word takes on a whole new meaning when you plant roots elsewhere) I will not be popping back on a whim again. (No more weddings! Though to UneChurch that's like saying "no more tea and coffee.") England will be home for quite a while yet methinks, and the next time I catch a plane will be for a decisive move or some such thing. I know I'm not a city girl and couldn't live in London forever. That brings sadness, of course, because I've invested here; but it doesn't make me wish I'd never come. I love London and it is actually home, for now.

This is the part where I didn't have any more words at the time, so I went and did something else for a while and now I've come back hoping to finish it off but I still lack ideas so I will just sign off and wait until I've had a more decent amount of sleep to make up for the not-so-decent amount of the last two days.

I should just say that I love my family a lot, and it was great to see them and be at home like normal. Skype and email has been so great - it meant we were all caught up and could just be together. The wedding and catch-up party weekend was intense and I was completely exhausted by the end, but it was lovely at the same time. The wedding was wonderful, of course.

Oh dear. I shouldn't have sat down again in this comfy chair. I need to go for a run or something... MUST PUSH THROUGH till night to DEFEAT the jet lag... AAaaaaaaaa

Monday, 11 November 2013

Not many words

Er, I probably should have mentioned that I'm home safe now. I kept the Facebook updates coming but neglected my blog. It's been really nice so far, the wedding was lovely and definitely worth every second on the plane to have been a part of it. Being with family is lovely, and the smell of an Australian spring (with thunderstorms!) is a real treat.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

For the worriers.

I'm at heathrow airport waiting for my gate to open. My flight takes off at 8:20pm London time. After that, I won't be using my UK mobile number - so no viber or Whatsapp. When I get to Sydney I'll put my oldAustralian SIM card in my phone and hopefully it will work! I'll try and keep updates coming on Facebook. Don't freak out if I haven't posted before Friday morning, it just means I'm out of battery or data on my phone. My auntie is meeting me at Sydney airport at 8am which will be lovely!! I'm feeling far more relaxed than I was a few hours ago. It's happening! I'm coming home.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

New chapter

Be more honest.
That is the message of the week. I have had so many people thank me for sharing my struggles, and I know I'm not the only one who has dealt with something like this. Be more honest! Be real.

Well, I've finished up as an Au Pair (a day earlier than I originally thought). It was sad to say goodbye. I moved everything out and I've shoved it in my new cupboard... in my new home!! So exciting! I'll be staying here tonight and then tomorrow it's off to Heathrow for the start of a 29 hour journey. 1:20pm is when I'm landing in Armidale! And I changed my flight back, so now I'm staying in town until Wednesday the 20th of November. And THEN it will be furious job hunting! Life ahead is looking good.

Monday, 4 November 2013


There is SO MUCH emotion in me that as I begin to write my brain probably looks like a thousand miniature Van de Graaf generators being shaken around in an upturned bowl of jelly. There is no way I could cover everything that has happened in the last few months and my reactions to it all. If you want a nice, neat summary... go away. But seriously, unless you know me well and care about my life, you're probably wasting your time reading this. Enjoy!

Where to start?

OK, so my last few posts have been quite mysterious and most likely a bit frustrating. I really am sorry! Boy, I have wished that I could just have a good old rant, but it's the world wide web. People's lives can't be strung up all over it like reeds on a submerged shopping trolley. Not nice.
Well, a week and a half ago I gave notice the family I'm with. It was indeed the hardest decision I've ever made in my life, and it tore me up and stressed me out for a long time. I'm still not fully at peace but I hope I will be soon. I feel sad, and guilty, and scared, and I feel like a failure and the worst human being to ever make a promise, but I believe it is for the best, and it was the right decision.
This is the really cool part: my church family. I cannot use mere words to tell you how grateful I am for the love they have. You see, I wasn't ready to come back to Australia for good. It was the only other option, really, that I had to go with if I were to decide to leave this position, since I didn't particularly want to go to another family. One day I was expressing these very thoughts to a lovely couple at my church... and then whatdya know, a week later I've claimed their spare room. I'm not there yet but I will be when I get back from Aus! I don't know how I can express just how thankful I am for their incredible kindness - imagine, some girl from the other side of the world walking in the church doors, and five months later you're opening up your house to her. I am completely astounded by their willingness to help me! They're fantastic people, and I am really, really looking forward to getting to know them even better. Praise God! He answered our prayers in a way that I couldn't have dreamt of. So then I will need to find another job. I think I want to do something quite different this time. Anything will do, really. I've got savings for now so I'm OK, but if things don't go well I might come home after all. Call me crazy, but I never did have a year-by-year plan for my life anyway.

I've noticed that all too often I write a sentence (or question), and then I put a comma and a conjunction and write another clause. Maybe I should just go with my natural rhythm and try not to edit them out too much, but is it annoying? Have you noticed it, or have you blissfully read on up until this point and thought "oh gee what is she talking about?" Maybe it's the linguist in me, but I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to writing. A lot of the time I'm all too proud, and I'm coming to accept that have ridiculously high expectations of myself.
(OK Jess you really overdid it there. No one is going to think that was clever. Now you're having to point out the irony. Totally killed it. Way to go all Monty Python in a not-very-funny post.)

I don't know how many times I've edited this post (and you left in that paragraph about grammar?!), but even now I'm hesitant to publish. It's so hard to be honest and careful at the same time. You know me - my heart could be my sleeve. But some things just happen and we have to deal with it as best we can and move on without making a scene. Right now I'm such a muddle of guilt, regret, frustration, fear, sadness, gratitude and joy... and there's nothing I can do but keep- (DON'T even think it. I'm not British enough for that tiresome cliché.)

The other big news requires some back story. This is scary for me to write. I'm just going to have to be very succinct, I'm afraid. But feel free to ask me anything if you want to! I hope this isn't inappropriate sharing, and I hope no one is hurt by it's up-until-recent concealment. Um, really, if we're not that close you won't want to read this.
Basically, I've been struggling as a Christian for years. I've had depression since I was twelve, but after I finished school for a long time it was quite constant. When doubts about faith and God and stuff first sprang into my mind (at the end of 2010) I found it really hard to fight them off as well as fighting off the lies and pain that are drip-fed by the black dog (depression). As one got worse so did the other, and though I tried to work it out I never seemed to have it right. It was like things were falling out of my life and God was sitting back watching as I sunk further away from joy and love. Eventually I lost faith in him, and had to stop doing "Christian" things. Leaving the youth group team at the end of last year crushed me, but I was already so burnt out (for the second time) and angry I knew I had no choice. I stopped singing, taking communion, praying, everything. I could no longer call myself a believer. I hated God.
But I felt as though everyone (except those I was truly honest with) still saw me as a solid servant of Jesus. I would have been so sad to leave church and let so many people down, I already felt bad enough. So I came to England, hoping that I would find God over here and sort myself out... but there is no quick-fix solution. A month ago I thought I had come to the point where I would never be able to turn back and that was really scary. For the last couple of years I have lived with my family as the most important thing in my life, but not sharing their love for God and knowing I would be alone when they die, well, it's awful. But I could also feel my heart softening and my thinking starting to be less tainted by bitterness. How could it not soften, with the amazing goodness I've been shown just recently? Church here has been the highlight of my week - spending time with a shining community of believers. I love St Marks, of course, but because of my struggles I found it so, so, so hard. I used to cry after most services as I walked to my car. Many times beforehand as well. DON'T WORRY! There's good news a-comin'.
A few Sundays ago, we sang In Christ Alone at the morning service. And in a tiny voice I croaked along. I actually sang. In church. I hadn't done that for a whole year. I started praying (actually praying!!) that God would help me in my unbelief. And then last Thursday morning, as I was getting dressed, I decided that I wanted to believe in God again. I want to believe fully that he is good, and loving, and involved, and cares, and that the cross was enough to pay for the sins of the world. And this morning at church the first song was In Christ Alone. I sang it. I didn't belt it out but I sang it. I'm still praying that God will help my unbelief, because there is a lot of mess to get through, but I'm back. I'm hid in Christ. Hopefully!

How are you feeling, a bit drenched in heart-puss? (I just made up that term.) Yeah, well, I did tell ya. And, though it should be quite obvious: I'm going to be a tired, emotionally drained, jet lagged, overwhelmed, happy-beyond-words, guilt stricken, t dropping, untanned, crazy as always version of myself, so be warned! Oh man, I can't wait!!