Ditches and Rollercoasters

It feels as though 2013 has been a whirlwind of a year and I’m looking forward to the end of it.

From the start of this year, till now:

My brothers suffered the deaths of their mother and aunt; their grandmother suffered a heart-attack some time after. My grandmother died in April and I had three assignments due in at university that week. As I was taking part in her funeral in Jamaica, I had to miss my exams. It was stressful getting all the evidence of her death together before I left England, especially because I had to finish off all my assignments at the same time, but I did do it and in June received a letter stating that my extenuating circumstances had been accepted. There were loads of other trials that took place during the interim: I missed the course options deadline even though I had made an attempt to choose them whilst overseas; when I returned home and tried to phone my university about it I was spoken to rudely and told it was all my fault. But I prayed—and God pulled through. My teachers fought to get me on the programmes I wanted for September and were very kind to me. I began July looking forward to my final year…

Today, though, has been insanity. Our house could have been repossessed, but we’ve been able to keep it, thanks to God speaking through the kind judge this morning. I went to Prayer Tower at Plaistow Church, but there was something on my mind: I didn’t feel all that well; the sun had made me sluggish and I felt a little annoyed at a comment that had been said during the meeting. I was looking forward to going home, but there was a strange entity between me and my ‘better half’. He seemed broodingly absent for a while, and his quietness soon turned to dark irritation—at what I don’t know; I didn’t know what to say to make things better. When we parted at my door, I wondered silently why I had bothered to embrace him. When I turned around at the door to wave, he was gone. We were supposed to have dinner at my house, but I suppose he’s not coming tonight. I think it’s for the best.

The final aggravation, though, was an infuriating letter from my university that I saw upon stepping through the door. I opened it expecting to get a summary of my grades, but the letter says that I have failed my 2nd year and I need to contact someone immediately to organise resits.

Ten Firsts

One 2:1

One 2:2

That’s what I received this year. The two exams I missed accounted for less than half the grades. I’ve calmed down a little now, and I know God has it in control, but every letter of correspondence I receive from this place makes me wish I never attended. I really hate it and I can’t wait to leave. And I’m so confused—They supposedly accepted my extenuating circumstances, so what does this letter mean? Earlier I began to feel as though I gave my testimony too early; there was still another threatening ditch around the corner.

I’ll close with a passage that was read today during Prayer Tower. I believe God orchestrated the meeting—that even though I was barely concentrating, the subject matter of complaining and murmuring to God, and the Bible texts that were read out, seemed to have been preordained for me to hear. This is one of my favourite texts, and it gives me hope:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Be Blessed.

xXx

 

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A Testimony!

Happy Sabbath.

I love when a Sabbath starts on a high. I still haven’t experienced The testimony, my Damascus Road Testimony, but until then I appreciate the little ones—because in reality, they’re not that little at all.

Quick recap: I was doing Creative Writing at Derby University. I dropped out after first year to pursue a career as a Mental Health nurse but I failed the exam and ended up settling for Sociology at the University of Greenwich. Greenwich requires students to pick up extra courses to make up the points for the year so I chose Forensic Criminology and French—I love the former and hate the latter. I was really down at the start of the year because I thought I had ruined my life and I just wasn’t enjoying university.

The first part of my testimony comes in the form of a final career choice. Even though my dream is to be a published novelist, I still need a day job. One of the reasons I left the Creative Writing course at Derby was because  I couldn’t think of a job that I could do with a Creative Writing degree and my motivation for it started to wane.

Talking to my mum this week it finally dawned on me the job I could do. I would like to work in a Trade Union. I reckon it’s quite competitive these days, but they’re still hiring by the bucketload, plus I have the advantage of knowing how to get into the field as my mum works in the legal department for one of the major unions in the UK (don’t worry, no nepotism here; she can’t get me the job). I started following the work of the trade unions earlier this year when the Tories got in and was both fascinated and horrified by the stories my mum came home with, of the unfairness some people have to face. Finding a career that would be good for me has really got my confidence going and now I’ve started to work harder, because I know where my degree will lead to. I’m still going to pray about it anyway, as I’ve had to twist and change my desire to be a Mental Health nurse quite a lot since I started this degree.

The second part of my testimony is in regards to my French course. No, I don’t like it nor do I understand it and I find the classes boring. I’ve been struggling to retain information it’s made me fall behind in classes more than once. Last week, however, I fell behind in a bad way. I was supposed to hand in a portfolio of work that I didn’t know until it was too late was actually part of a formal assessment. I didn’t understand it so I didn’t do it and decided to give myself an extension for extenuating circumstances (LOL). But then the following week went by and I still hadn’t done it. By this time I was aware just how important the portfolio was and I was bricking myself over how much trouble I would get into. Friday morning came (today) and I very nearly almost stayed at home. So I prayed. I prayed some crazy desperate prayer, pleading with God to soften my French teacher’s heart so she would understand.

I went to class early and told her that I had had trouble with the work and hadn’t done it yet.

“Erm,” she said, “did we agree for you to have an extension?”

“Uhhhhhhh. I—oh yeah! I don’t think we did, did we?”

“You do know I can penalise you for not handing it in on time?”

I then went on a little ramble, saying I hadn’t known who to go to if I’d needed the help; I also hadn’t been able to get to a reliable printer in time; it was really hard work—

“Well it’ll be kind of pointless you coming in class today,” she said. “We’re going to be going through the portfolio together.”

There was a long pause.

“I’ll tell you what,” she said, “Go to the library for an hour and complete the portfolio now. Come back at twelve for the second part of the lecture and I’ll take your work in anyway. I won’t penalise you.”

HUUH? Can I get an ‘Amen’???

I almost cried on my way to the library! It took longer than I thought, though (I told you it was hard); I ended up taking two hours and arriving in the classroom when the lecture was over.

“This wasn’t our agreement, was it?” She said, tapping her foot on the ground.

“I’msosorrysorrytooklongsorrypaperjamsorrywrongfrenchtapesorrysorry.”

And she still accepted it! My prayer was answered. I should have a big red mark next to my name in the coursebook for handing in the work a week late, but thank God it’s all worked out.

But now I must never screw up in the lesson again. She’s gonna be watching me now, I’m sure of it…

xXx

So Much Happens in Seven Days…

Happy Sabbath.

I spoke about the problems that arose for me at the start of last week in an earlier post. It seems so strange that less than seven days ago I was writing about the importance of mental rest and then, the very next day, I was faced with something that had me ticking over almost constantly. So at the moment I’m estranged from a family member due to religious differences–as in, one of us follows the Bible and the other follows nothing. It was only a matter of time before something like this happened. I just didn’t expect such a drastic outcome.

On the other side of the coin are my achievements for the week. Last Friday evening I was worried about my university problems and now, thankfully, I’m all caught up. I handed in my French portfolio today–all completed–and I caught up on my missed readings for Sociology. I’m ready for the assignments I’ve got next month; bought my textbooks and have focused more in my classes. The Devil was on my case on Sunday, but God’s answered some prayers anyway.

I had a nice day with a great friend, Dami. One of the few people in this world that I can trust. She’s strong, intelligent and creative–a great poet. Her testimony is amazing, as well. It was nice to have lunch with her, chat and stuff and then go to praise team practice, which I’ve just come back from. The Youth Praise Team is singing tomorrow. We haven’t sung for a while, so it’ll be nice to introduce some songs to the church that we’ve been practising during the interim.

Mmm. Next post will be a poem I think…

Have a good Sabbath.

xXx

Mental Rest

Happy Sabbath.

Every now and again, I come to a point where I’m begging Sabbath to come around. This has been a very trying week: I’m not entirely happy with the degree I’ve ended up with at university (yes, take note: ended up with), so this has meant that I’m very behind with my work. Very behind. I’m due to hand in a portfolio of French work next week and I wasn’t even aware of such a task existing, so this means that this coming week will be a rush and scramble to get the work done. I have two assignments to do for November that I haven’t started and I’ve not been able to buy a single textbook for my degree. This has led to a feeling of helplessness that has slowly accumulated over the week. My resolve has become unsteady, swaying back and forth like a Jenga tower until it finally collapses in a pathetic heap.

Sabbath has been a Godsend. I don’t have to do my assignments, I don’t have to check on the university intranet and I don’t have to e-mail any teachers. This is the easy part of Sabbath–the not doing. It’s great not having to do any work or chores or homework or whatnot, but it’s not so easy forgetting that work needs to be done on Sunday. Do we ever give God our entire attention during any day, let alone Sabbath? If I was able to forget about my university worries than I wouldn’t be writing this blog post, surely.

The important thing to remember about Sabbath is that it’s supposed to be the culmination of a spirit-filled week. Think of it as the little marzipan couple on top of the wedding cake. The reason why so many people have a hard time getting into the swing of church is because they haven’t spent time with God during the previous six days. If people got up early every morning to have devotion, they wouldn’t have such a hard time making it in for Sabbath school.

I’m probably the worst offender. Two weeks ago I was set a challenge from a friend at church to get up at six a.m./five forty-five every morning for prayer and a Bible reading. I actually prayed the night before that I wouldn’t be tired, but still, on the first morning of my task, I yawned, rolled over and went back to sleep. The following days resulted in an internal battle of ‘should I get up or shouldn’t I?’ and it all became so intense that I’d stop feeling tired anyway. It’s all a process, but I’m fully aware that the less time I spend with God during the week, the less likely I’m going to make it to Sabbath school–what’s more, the less likely I am to completely devote my Sabbath to God–physically and mentally. I’m sitting here typing and all the while my other problems are getting in the way. Should I not trust that God has it all in control?

So, I’m re-setting the challenge. Early bed; early rise, early rise; good devotion. Why not give it a go?