Just A Word - Saved By Grace

Inspiration Words By Sis. Marvet Simpson

What inspired me to begin to blog was a conversation with a Sister and friend, who basically told me that God is preparing another platform for me to share His Word, and do His will. She challenged me to write, and expressed how inspired she was by my use of language. I was humbly appreciative, and unknowingly she added the final note to the music that so many have been playing on me for so long; to write. I have so much to say, to share, and I love to encourage. People communicate electronically these days, and the verbal face to face dialogue has become less and less over the years. Young people have become more insular, and struggle to express or even be honest with themselves. If I am not able to be a listening ear, I would like to be there at the other end of a click, and so hence my reason for blogging. It's not all about me, but to the Glory of God, I write inspired, not out of daily duty, so I trust that whoever reads, will be encouraged, and if questions are to be asked, I will endeavour to give answers. Blessings in abundance.

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Make a list

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So many thoughts and feelings, and experiences have been swimming around in my head.  I recognise confusion en masse and I don't like it.  So how do we deal with our confusion?  There are times when we need to compartmentalise them (nice word)!  In a nut shell, in  a filing cabinet, in a suitcase, in a draw; these are the items that cause confusion that we ruminate over, and the rumination can lead to a headache.Image result for Question
Above my laptop on my desk back wall I have notices of information; a therapeutic task for clients, a Bible verse on card, two outcomes guide for teaching, a declaration of God's word on my life, from Jeremiah 29:11-13, and other relevant, legal and educational information.  From time to time I look at them, and rest a while, recognising that they are all relevant, and hold their place somewhere in my plethora of my busy days.  They are all securely kept there, with a variety of magnets collected from home and abroad, as a bold reminder of what I should do, when, and with whom, and why. The most important notice however is my "To do List" of all the other's that is the one, that is frequently visited and updated in the compartment in which I have placed it.  It lives at the top right hand corner of my desk, because being right handed, when I look up, I am automatically drawn to it.
I read what I have listed, I tick off what I have achieved, and I add what I need to do.  That helps with the confusion.  It's not just that what it does only, but also helps with clarity, and gives me a sense of fulfillment, that although my desk wall is busy, I do not have to feel that busyness, because I have ordered my plans.  This reduces stress and the need to keep going through my notices, and checking if I have addressed this or that;  I look at my list, and it tells me that I have done it, or that I need to do it.
Of course there are those of us whom I believe like confusion, and chaos.  I recall studying with a fellow student, who kept a very untidy folder.  In our small study group of four, she was asked by the teacher to locate a relevant piece of work. As she leafed through her folder, I watched in anxiety as loose leaves fell out and crumpled papers appeared between neat pockets, or torn pieces of work.  I felt embarrassed for her, but her candid comment when asked about her chaotic folder was, "I like the disorganised folder, it makes me feel as though I am studying something really important" She continued to search! How she was able to equate the two remains a mystery to me.  
Maintaining an organised existence helps us to chart our progress, reduces stress in our lives, can help reduce the feelings of depression, and gives us a sense of purpose.  We can see the results of our plans at a glance.  In my work as an Integrative Therapist, there are times when a client will need a little direction in what they should do, to reduce their confusion.  CBT is good for this, (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy).  Once such client sat before me, a young woman in her early twenties who had recently become unemployed.  Her days were unfulfilled, and she had temporarily lost a sense of purpose.  When exploring her days activities, she saw little  to do, there was plenty she could do.(That's what I saw), my job was to enable her to see it.  For a while we sat and talked, her responses reflected both the confusion she felt, and the emptiness she was experiencing.  So we began to work on compartmentalising her day, organising and giving her a sense of purpose, making a pictorial list with achievable and realistic outcomes. By the end of the session her whole demeanour had changed and she shared the excitement of using her IT skills for creativity of her 'list'.
So let's not kid ourselves, confusion is not good, disorganisation and chaos is not healthy, and living without a sense of purpose does not build character.  I agree wholeheartedly with the verse in the Bible that speaks of Our Father God as not being the Author of confusion (1st Corinthians 14:33). He set a blue print for us to follow, can you imagine if He had given us the task of making the earth? Wow! or worse still, making Us? 
Think about it. Look in to your life, and ask yourself, what can I compartmentalise? what lists can I make? what plans for the week can I realistically put in place. Begin to do this and you will begin to see results that you may have felt you could not achieve. 



"They are new every morning"

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Three events happened recently  that challenged my continuing reflective thoughts, I want to share them with you.
Event 1:
I sat with my  friend J in the grounds of a little village cafĂ©.  The sun was beaming down on our table, and we waited patiently for our lunch order.  As we watched passers by, and listened to the noisy traffic (village life isn't so quiet these days); we talked and mused over the beautiful surroundings  punctuated by hanging baskets, and village aesthetics.  The waitress emerged with our food, which looked scrumptious.  She asked us if we would like any sauces; of course mayonnaise and chips go beautifully together, and so that was my request.  My gentle, quiet friend, began to tuck in.  I hesitated, picked up my cutlery, and paused.  The food looked lovely, it was hot, and I was hungry, but I was waiting; as she ate, I decided to begin, but really and truly I wanted my mayonnaise.  After what seemed like a decade, (grossly exaggerated) I said to my friend, 'I think she has forgotten our mayonnaise', she calmly replied, as she put a morsel of food in her mouth, 'No, she knows we're out here, she'll bring it in a bit', within seconds she arrived, with a pot of mayonnaise, with the usual enquiry of 'is everything okay with your meal'?
My friend was well away, enjoying her meal, I paused for a moment to thank the waitress, and continued with my meal.
Event 2:
We bumped into Tim, my self and hubby, as we walked in a local  shopping area, in the early afternoon sun.  Tim, according to my hubby, looked better than he had done for a long time. In short he was homeless, had no job, and no family, but today, he was in a better place, because he had, cleaned himself up, acquired his cash benefits, and expressed gratitude for the input my husband had given to acquire his birth certificate.  He repaid the debt. He was clean, sober, and shared an optimistic view of wanting to turn his life around.  He was with his  friend Jerry.  This friend was completely incoherent of our presence. Deeply intoxicated, and swaggering along the pavement edge in a precariously dangerous stroll.  He was heading for the common alcoholics bench. As we watched, Tim looked at him, the state this once wealthy, controlling person had become; he talked in brief of his days that others had suffered under the hand of this man.  As we looked at his friend, he faltered slightly at the pavement's edge, and near fell into the road. In anxious tones Tim said, 'I better get him some chips, to soak up the alcohol'.
Event 3:
CPD is very important to enhancing my counselling practice.  I'm always looking out and listening for new developments in the world of therapy.  I tuned into a you tube video, the title attracted me, and I listened keenly to the Introduction of a Psychotherapist who was unfamiliar to me.  She sounded great, knowledgeable, wise, and well learned.  I was keen to hear what she had to say. When her introduction had been completed, I turned up the volume slightly. Today I would learn something new, not heard before, and add it to my CPD. As she spoke, I recognised the familiar paths I had taken to building relationships with my clients.  She did not use any words, I could not understand, and she explained herself slowly, methodically, and with passion.  Her emphasis was the importance of a good relationship, how the empathic, congruent relationship would enable the client to tell their story.  She wisely said that application  of human interaction, exceeded all the knowledge of theory, as with them, and no application of human interaction, it would disable depth in the therapeutic alliance. (not exactly her words, but that's what I understood).
My learning, my reflection, my conclusion.
My friend J is a Quaker, she is a peaceful, gentle, person. When I speak with her, she listens intently, looking at me, and waiting until I finish to give her response. When we talk I know she hears me, as her responses are always relevant to my comments. We write each other often, and our letters are filled with depth and meaning. I felt rebuked when I whittled over the arrival of our sauce. She taught me something; the art of gentle, patient waiting, not to worry, not to fret, take your time, enjoy the moment, trust that what you ask for is coming, be at peace.  John 14:27
I was proud of Tim, but also very humbled by his concern for Jerry.  He, who had very little to give himself, yet in that moment gave a huge amount to his friend, I saw care, I saw compassion, and I saw human kindness. I saw the teachings of Jesus, Matthew 25:40. It didn't matter that Jerry was drunk, dirty, 'mashed' and possibly very smelly, Tim, cared, and he taught us something.  As we parted, and drove past him a little later, there he was gently handing and feeding Jerry his chips.
So what was I really looking for from this new Psychotherapist?, something great?, something never spoken before about relationships?.   Lamentations 3:22-23, tells me that "The steadfast Love of the Lord never ceases.....His mercies never come to an end...they are New every morning". It isn't about doing something new, with each client, it is about building a relationship, and that not just with clients but with others too, it is about talking and listening, practicing and demonstrating daily what I know to be good and right in the treatment of others.  It's about knowing that people are more important than things, and places, and also listening to God's voice, about being at peace, being humble, being caring.  None of the above events are amazingly spectacular, it is what I received from them, in my moment of reflection.
If we go through each day, and never stop to take stock, think and reflect on what we sometimes scoff at; waiting for the sauce, ignoring the Alcoholics, switching off and saying I've heard it before, if we never stop and think what can I learn from my experiences? then to us, they are not new every morning. We remain stagnant, unrefreshed and dead.
What will you notice this week, in the next few weeks.  What will you reflect on? 



Understand another's journey,

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My profile suggests that I get to know myself a little more, by observing the behaviour of others.  It's quite an interesting statement because it almost implies that I spend time watching others, and picking out what's good, bad,  what I like, don't like, emulating others and rejecting others.  Not so, that's not what I mean, I guess I mean, I can be sympathetic to their journey.
Let me explain.  I have an enemy or two, maybe they are not my enemies, but they are definitely not my allies. Our interaction is poor, infact it's tooth wrenching painful, and I often leave their presence a little disturbed.  This is where the Forgiveness blog comes in... "Set Free".  I am not their enemy, in fact truth be known, I would like to be their allie, but right now, right at this point in our lives, their lives and mine, it is not happening.  Why? because as I have been on a journey, so are they!, and so I can 'see with them' as my mother used to say, 'si wid mi'.  Meaning I can understand their difficulty, I can understand the rocks and boulders they will climb, I can understand the valleys, and the rebellion, I can understand the pretense and the effort, I can understand the resistance and the denial.
I have arrived at my acceptance...or have I? so you see I can understand where they are at.  It enables me to be more sympathetic.
We are all on a journey, I began a specific journey in October 2016.  How the journey was going to take shape, and where exactly I was going to travel to, I wasn't sure, so I had to consult a lot with my Travel Advisor, sometimes I wasn't sure how I would feel, on a particular road, or the reaction of the passers by, but I had to trust God, my Travel Advisor that He would be with me. 
When I observe others where they are on their journey, I can say, 'Ahh, I recognise that road....hmmm that's a long one, a rough one, I hope they keep going, I hope that they listen to their Travel Advisor, because only He can take them through that particular road'.
However, some may not even have started that specific journey, but I can still be sympathetic, compassionate, and coupled with the lessons, I have picked up along the way, I can be patient, can I add painfully patient? because that is how it is at times. Painful to watch them, painful to experience them, but then I need also need to pray, for them, and for myself. 

I can also rebuke those, who criticise the travellers, or pre-contemplative travellers ( those who are not yet at the start of their journey), 'Remember what God did, for you, where He brought you from?', That is my response to the critics, ' allow them that time, be patient, painfully patient even', and pray.
Image result for A roadWhat's so great about the journey is that when you come through the other side, you'll know you've been on a journey, but even more importantly is anticipating the next leg.  Sometimes the journey can be lonely.  It was for me, and at points still is, that's when I have to go back to my Travel Advisor, sometimes He doesn't tell me where to go. He just reminds me that He is with me, keep going straight.  You see really and truly He is also like my Sat Nav.  Have I talked about this in a previous blog?, yes I'm sure I did. If I don't hear from Him for a moment, I just need to keep going.  He'll give me the next direction....as I'm sure He will others.
Allow them their journey... Whose to say we will end up in the same direction? Of course there is no guarantee of this, and doesn't matter.  What is more important is that they are on their journey, and I need to see that.

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