Tag Archives: Brexit

The Days After Christmas…

Hi Friends,

I hope this finds you as well as can be this year. I thought I’d interject my ‘Self Care in a Pandemic’ series with a few free flowing thoughts and musings. Don’t worry, I will continue on with the series, as I know we are not out of the woods yet, and we all need as much encouragement as we can get in these trying times.

As i write, I look out upon the bare tree branches. It rained earlier and the sun is gently shining and I can see rain droplets shimmering and shivering and catching the light. It is beautiful and simple and gently wondrous, and a reminder of the simple delights of childhood. A blackbird is perched near the top of a tree. I see branches upon branches, and these twinkling raindrops in the midst of the hard barrenness of the trees lifts my heart. The sky is a gentle blue which is a relief and joy after days of grey. It is cold here.

I’m writing, just writing for the moment because I hadn’t written to you in a few days, and there is so much that I could say. It has been a blessed time with family, yet we had news of bereavements of friends, and that is hard to process. I have had time to think more on the wonder of Christ coming into the world, and He Is revealing new things to me of His Humanity and His Nearness. How do we put these deep things of the tapestry of life into words? I don’t know and so I come simply to write and to reconnect with you after a few days and to wish you well.

I hope you have had a Peaceful Christmas. I read somewhere that Peace is not the absence of troubles but the Presence of Christ. How true in this world as we know it! It is something God reassured me of in the past when in times of trial – ‘In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world!’ Praise the Risen King, Jesus Christ, my LORD and GOD. I hope you come to know His transcendent Peace if you don’t know Him already, because in this world you will have trouble, as sad as that is.

There has been flooding in some parts of the UK, and sadly some people have had to leave their homes on Christmas. We now have a deal between the UK and the EU so Brexit is finally moving along. There is news of yet more strains of the Coronavirus. And across the country and the world people are experiencing joys, sorrows and many things in between. Some are safe and cosy at home with families, others had a day of respite on Christmas day in the UK, being able to form a ‘Christmas bubble’ to visit loved ones for the day. Others still are lonely, bereaved, confused and scared. Where are you among it all? Know that you are loved and not forgotten about and The Good Shepherd of your soul, Jesus, is right there to help if only you would humble yourself to know that you can’t do it alone, and ask Him.

It’s a time of year where many of us find ourselves asking ‘what’s next?’. Are you asking the same of yourself, of life? What’s next? Many want to usher out 2020, and usher in 2021, and I am encouraged to see that people are still exercising hope. Yet, others are deflated and frightened at what might be around the corner. While there is so much outwith our control, we can be grateful for today, for this moment and look up with faith, and hope and do what we can to make things better.

How are you feeling today, this season, as Christmas has passed and we await a New Year that we hope will be better? Know that Jesus Is for Life and not just for Christmas – the day of may have passed, but His Love has not, He Is here and He came for you. It is an extraordinary humble and all powerful love, that does not force itself upon you but gently asks you to invite Him in.

We stand at the brink of a new year, and many of us have much to process. Keep ‘chipping away’ at the positive things you have been doing, keep taking those small steps forward, keep looking for the simple wonders outside your window, and keep looking for a life of deeper, purer love and faith. In the meantime, take that next sip of tea, get cosy and comfortable, take time to be thankful, and we will chat again soon, and continue on this journey together.

Peace. x

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

*Gather your thoughts*.

It’s 14th July 2020, and we’ve well passed the half way point of this year. I’ve no doubt at all that our thoughts at the start of this year as to what we might be doing or what the world would look like were very different to what has actually transpired in our personal and collective experiences.

I remember, at the start of the year, writing down a list of EU countries that I haven’t been to that I’d like to travel to before the practical changes related to ‘Brexit’ (remember that?!) come into force. We may well make plans, but we cannot put our Trust in those plans. This year has definitely been a collective lesson in that.

I don’t know anyone who thought we’d be living through a pandemic in 2020. The year ‘2020’ sounded much too ‘perfect’, too well rounded, ‘visionary’, and aspirational for anything like that. How wrong we all were.

However, let’s not ‘right this year off’ just yet, if that’s what you feel inclined to do. While there have been challenges and struggles and disappointments, there have also been opportunities to learn, grow, reflect and change.

We’re at a change point (in UK at least), where having been in lockdown for the past 4 months, restrictions are beginning to ease and society is gradually ‘opening up’ once more. Yet, what we are phasing back into isn’t quite the same as what we knew before. We now inhabit a world of the infamous ‘new normal’ that we’re all still trying to adjust to – a world of facemasks, social / physical distancing, R numbers, ‘coughing etiquette’, ‘elbow bumps’ as greetings, planned and limited interactions, and other changes to our daily lives.

Some people are excited to get back out into the world, while others find the prospect daunting, especially as the coronavirus is not yet a thing of the past.

I think at this point in time, especially if we are struggling with anxiety, apprehension, uncertainty and reluctance, it is important to take time to reframe our thoughts.

I’ve been doing this, in part, by putting together a little craft / keepsake journal to help me process and make sense of this year. Something that helps me see the positives, the lessons learned and the accomplishments that have blossomed through an otherwise collectively concerning and challenging year. By looking back to reframe our view of the year so far, we will be in a better position to look forwards as we approach what lies ahead.

We face unknowns and uncertainties as we ease out of lockdown – however, we also faced unknowns and uncertainties at the start of this process, and we have all made it through, despite the ups and downs we might have faced along the way.

While for some, reintegrating into society sounds exciting and appealing, for others, especially with underlying and pre-existing conditions in which anxiety plays a part, change can be daunting.

We’ve learned to plan, to take one step at a time, to put one foot in front of another, to encourage each other. As we approach more changes, we still have time to reflect on what we have learned so far, how we have grown, and how these lessons will help us as we take the next steps.

Taking a bit of time to gather your thoughts will help as we make our way through the muddle that we often may feel we are in. Structuring these times of reflections to think about one issue at a time will help to make things feel more manageable. Bringing creativity into the process can help us to think more positively about how we will approach what comes next, with wisdom, intention, and with care, hopefully in a way that will equip us to help other people too.

The times, they are a-changing…

person dropping paper on box
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Well today, the day after the United Kingdom held its European Parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced her resignation, to be effective as of  Friday June 7th, two weeks from now.  She spoke of how she tried her best for the country she loves, and how she was motivated by her public duty and her democratic obligations to the will of the people, speaking specifically about the referendum vote three years ago that resulted in a simple majority to leave the European Union…or ‘Brexit’ as it has come to be known.

Most people feel disaffected with politics, although there has been expressions of sympathy towards Mrs May who was choked with emotion at the end of her resignation speech.

We face new challenges going forwards, and who knows what the rest of the world thinks of the United Kingdom in this respect. Yet, whatever our political opinions, persuasions or if we choose not to get involved at times, the Christian’s responsibility, regardless of personalities, politics or any other such thing, is to pray.

We are admonished in 1 Timothy 2:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all people, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all…

Elections, Choices and What makes a Good Leader

book sun

Picture courtesy of Google Images.

If you’ve been following world news lately, or live in the United Kingdom, you will know that today, 8th June 2017 is polling day for the UK’s General Election.

The election was called unexpectedly in April this year by the UK’s current Prime Minister, Teresa May. It was unexpected as she had previously announced that she would not be calling a ‘snap election’, but clearly politicians have the prerogative to change their minds! She was voted in as the new leader of the Conservative Party by her party, and consequently became Prime Minister, following David Cameron’s resignation after the majority of British voters voted for ‘Brexit’, ie to leave the European Union, in a referendum in June of last year. It was not the result that Cameron hoped for nor anticipated.  His successor and the incumbent Prime Minister, Teresa May also wanted to remain in the EU. However, as leader of choice (by her party, at least), she is currently in the position of leading the country forwards in the direction of the voting population’s simple majority decision in favour of Brexit.

Teresa May could be nicknamed for a time, ‘Teresa Maybe’ or Teresa May or May Not’, due to her delay or reluctance to push that metaphorical button and invoke Article 50 which would set things in motion for Britain to leave the EU.  However, finally May took decisive action and invoked or triggered Article 50 in March 2017, less than three months ago.

With further decisiveness in April of this year, Teresa May, taking on the stance of Teresa Will announced a general election to take place in June – today being that day!

It is difficult to truly discern a politician’s motives from what they actually say. Perhaps May sees this election as a way to formalise her mandate and strengthen her position in negotiating a strong Brexit deal for the country and / or to increase the Conservative’s majority in Westminster. Presumably no Prime Minister would call a sudden election well before its time (the next general election wouldn’t have been due until 2020) unless they were confident that they and their party would win.

However, despite being a small nation, and an island at that, the United Kingdom isn’t altogether united. There are fractions and divisions and competing points of view that mean that the result that May is anticipating (which we will find out tomorrow) may not turn out to be what she desires.

From the division of the ‘Remain’ and ‘Brexit’ camps, to divisions in Scotland over the results of the ‘Independence Referendum’ that took place on 18th September 2014, and a narrow majority voting for Scotland to remain as part of the United Kingdom (55.3% against independence, 44.7% in favour of independence) to all the multifarious shades of the political spectrum and opinions in between, notes from this small island of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales, report that Britain remains somewhat divided and uncertain about its future.

For several years, Westminster politics has been characterised by a rivalry between the ‘big two’ parties across opposing sides of the debating chamber: The Labour Party and the Conservative Party. However, in more recent times there have been coalitions between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to form a majority, breaking the run of Labour Party rule, and finally returning to the Conservatives as the simple majority party in power.

Currently of the leaders of the ‘big two’, Teresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, although there may be pockets of die-hard supporters, on the whole most people have very mixed feelings towards them both, their policies and their trustworthiness.

While perhaps finding some things in either leader or party that one can resonate with, there are other elements that grate against our consciences. Politics has become synonymous with corruption, false promises and even deceit. As in the United States of America, when faced with the choice to elect either Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump for President, many voters on both sides of the Atlantic feel that they are being cornered into choosing the lesser of two evils. Gone are the days where members of the public look up to their politicians as paragons of virtue, a special breed of humanity with leadership qualities that shine forth with radiance – people deserving of our trust and respect. Perhaps such days never actually existed…?

It brings us to consider, in this hotch-potch of political choices what does make a good leader, and where can we find one? They are certainly not ‘a dime a dozen’, nor does anyone in particular in the world of politics spring to mind.

I think this reality exacerbates political frustration, despondency, apathy and confusion. I would quite frankly despair of this world were it not for the fact that I do have a Leader Whom I can wholeheartedly respect, admire, trust, believe in and follow without reservation.

Everything He does is imbued with infinite and perfect Love, Wisdom, Kindness, Goodness, Integrity and Strength. He Is a Wonderful Counsellor, a Prince of Peace.

He humbled Himself to teach us that to truly be a Leader, one must first become the Servant of all. He only ever works for Good, and Is completely and utterly Faithful and Trustworthy. He lived out self-sacrificial love, doing what is good for others at an unbelievable cost to Himself. He died to bring us salvation and Is Risen and Reigns over all.

So despite the madness of the world in which we live, the frustrations of politics and the despair over the leaders of the world, I have an infinite hope.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ personally – the One Who Shepherds His people with kindness, goodness and love, this may all seem a bit strange, as if it were perhaps just an ideal to be longed after. But He has proven Himself to me time after time, to be real, and good and utterly trustworthy, and so despite the results of these elections or all the other things happening in this world, I know that I follow and serve and belong to One Whose ways are perfect, just and kind.

Even if you don’t share my faith, I am sure you would find it fascinating and encouraging in contrast to the leaders of the world today, to look into and examine the life and ways of the historical person of Jesus Christ.

Thousands of years before He made Himself manifest to us, the prophet of the Old Testament, Isaiah proclaimed:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”. (Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6).