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She-Devil

It’s official, my neighbour is the She-Devil. Every morning, I am woken up by her shouting and screaming at her crying, screaming kids, until bedtime.

It’s really upsetting, to me and my children, we have got to the point where we can’t go in the garden or even have the windows open when they are home.

I believe she is a single mum. The only interaction I have had with her is her shouting in my face.

I’m afraid I’m really struggling to feel sympathy for her, and as for praying for my enemies, I’m struggling to pray anything nice!

I have tried setting a good example, speaking softly and kindly to my children in her hearing (before being in the garden just got too inpleasant) and smiling and being friendly when I saw her, but it just seems to make her madder.

It’s actually really getting me down. How would you deal with this?

Out in the cold, dark night

So here we are, almost nine weeks after moving out of our rented house, from which we were being evicted, into the brand spanking new housing association property. Minus the mold and the awful landlord and letting agents, but also minus carpets and curtains, the gardens, the fabulous view and minus the dining room, the built-in wardrobes. (We’re also still waiting for our deposit to bé returned) I could go on, but I’m trying not to dwell on the negatives.

One negative I am really struggling with though is the lack of landline phone and internet. Thank God for my mobile phone, but it is costing me almost as much to run this mobile as our only phone and internet source as it was to run broadband and wifi for the whole house before.

Nine weeks is long enough, don’t you think? If I had a choice not to use BT I would certainly vote with my feet, but of course they rely on your inability to go to anybody else for a landline.

I have been through a few traumatic events in the last few years, so in one way I’m used to it, but in another, I feel battle-worn and weary, traumatised too many times.

I’m basically middle-aged now. I thought that by now we would have a stable, comfortable home with a stable, comfortable network of friends and family around us. Nothing could bé further from the truth.

Needless to say, my health has taken a turn for the worse in the last few weeks, to the extent that – apart from a few necessary errands – I am mostly needing to lay down in bed in my room. Even sitting up is too painful, my neck feels unable to hold my head up for long.

I had a conversation on Saturday morning with a pentecostal friend, and I mentioned my ill health, so she said a prayer online which she asked me to agree to, which I did, but then she said “Now we have done ‘spiritual warfare’ and you are healed. Don’t invite back the spirit of infirmity.”

I have spent some time in pentecostal churches, so it shouldn’t have surprised me but I was taken aback. If only life were that simple!

The problem with having such a simplistic worldview is that it becomes inevitably judgemental – if you don’t get well, if your circumstances don’t improve, you must have failed in some way, failed to adequately wage spiritual warfare, had a lack of faith, spoken negative words to “invite” negativity back into your life! (Remember the ‘Secret’?)

Unfortunately, unless you want a potentially self-defeating argument, you learn to have to watch what you say around people with this kind of thinking. I feel another sense of loss that I can’t trust this friend with my true thoughts and feelings.

Anyway, our big news is that, in view of our circumstances, in view of my health, our finances, my husband’s age (over 50 now), we don’t intend to pursue adoption.

That decision comes with another terrific sense of loss and grief and guilt, but we left it too late I think. I wish we had looked into it ten years ago, but on the other hand it would not have been good to put adopted children through what we have been through in the last few years. It looks like it just wasn’t meant to bé. (Either that, or I didn’t wage enough spiritual warfare. Joke.) 😦

I dreamt last night that there were a bunch of children that weren’t mine out in the shed, out in the wet cold night, and one of them broke into the house and threatened me with a gun. Somehow I knew that they were out there, and I was more shocked that I hadn’t let them in than that this child was standing in front of me with a gun. Dreams are stupid, but I expect that’s the guilt talking. I would let you in, but I don’t think I would bé very much good for you.

Election Thoughts

Where to begin?

I wouldn’t normally stay up, but last night I caught the election fever and stayed up all through the night until 5:45 am when North Cornwall declared their result.

Right from the first Conservative wins of the night, I was astonished at the results, and this morning I am still amazed. It was quite, quite different to what I had anticipated.

Perhaps I hadn’t been paying attention – I was sure that Labour would do well, UKIP would gain a number of seats, and the only way the Conservatives would get back in would be to do a deal with SNP or UKIP, leading inevitably to a Labour-based coalition.

I’m sure nobody was surprised by the fact that the Lib-Dems did badly or that the SNP did well, but the degree to which the Lib-Dems have lost (and SNP have gained in Scotland) seem astounding.

That Labour did so badly and the Conservatives did so well, after five years of austerity, wrongly directed at the poorest and most vulnerable in society, is… well, mind-boggling really.

Let me say that, for myself, and for every other home educating family in the UK, I am mightily relieved that our liberty is not immediately threatened as it would unequivocally have been had Labour won. Ed Balls specifically told us that he would “finish the job” of eradicating us if Labour got back in. So the fact that Balls has been snipped is deeply satisfying.

But for hundreds of thousands of people – the poor, the disabled, the vulnerable, the mentally ill, the needy of every kind, I weep.

Personally, I was not able in conscience to vote either way – Labour has moved massively to the right, and both Labour and the Conservatives have moved massively towards authoritarianism in the last 20 years.

The Liberal Democrats were probably the most liberal in theory but of course, they lost my vote a while back for not doing what they promised, and not reining in the Conservatives.

UKIP were libertarian in some ways, and the most moral in others, but oh how careless they have been, attracting the worst elements in politics. A vote for them would have been out of the question.

I love the Greens for many of the things they stand for, but they are the most authoritarian of all.

Knowing that my vote would carry no weight anyway in this constituency (and for a whole host of other reasons that I’ll elaborate on if asked), I voted “NONE” of the above.

I did seriously consider voting for Mebyon Kernow – I wholeheartedly agree that Cornwall is under-represented and should have its own devolved parliament. So I’ll be watching and supporting them over the next five years and hoping that they develop into a non-authoritarian alternative.

Something I have been disturbed about in the run up to this election was the way in which Christians (on the left and right of the spectrum) spoke as though they believed that government can be the saviour, making everything right, and fair and stable (and moral!).

It can’t.

I loved Russell Brand’s Trews response to the election

[ https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=rRUQ6aPvs58 – note this link will take you away from this site as I am posting via mobile and haven’t figured out how to open a new tab. Bookmark before yougo! 🙂 ]

– recognising, I think, that compassion is the key, and realising that making government your saviour doesn’t bring about the spiritual awakening that is required for true revolution.

Perhaps, ironically, a government of oppression will bring about that awakening? As unpopular as they are, I think that the food banks are evidence of that. Good people will react with love and kindness when they see need.

(Some people will inevitably respond with hatred and violence instead – in words if not physically – and I think that it must be the Church’s role to speak up for and show compassion as an alternative Way)

But of course, the love and kindness of good people hasn’t been enough for the last five years.

What about the others? The rich, the bankers, the landlords, the moguls of big business, and even the “we’re alright” lot who are just comfortable enough themselves not to care about those of us who are not? (It would seem there are an awful lot of them!)

How can they be reached? I don’t believe that Labour would have oppressed them enough to have a spiritual awakening and see they’re in the wrong – quite the opposite in fact.

I always have to come back to the fact that the only ultimate answer, the only saviour, the only real alternative is Jesus – compassion personified. Thy Kingdom come.

Election Prayer

My battery is dying, so this will be a quick one. I just wanted to post this prayer for the election.

Abba Father,
We come into your presence on our knees,
And we acknowledge our sins and the sins of this nation – the things we have done and the things we have failed to do.
We ask for your mercy Father, for your Great Name’s sake.
Have mercy on this land and this people.
Restore us to yourself.
May your will be done in this election.
May we not get the government that we deserve, but the government that will bring glory to your name and heal this land.
In the name and for the sake of Jesus we pray,
Amen.

(c) Shoshana Sharon Tootill, 2015

Move Along Home

Just a quick update to tell you that we have moved – we were very blessed to be offered something so quickly: not a Council house, but a Housing Association property.

There were a few sleepless nights when we weren’t sure whether or not we would get what we needed, but in the end we got the place that we asked for.

Pretty amazing really, when you hear about families being held in B&Bs because no houses are available.

It’s not ideal – there is hardly any garden at all, and there’s no garage and very little storage (we have had to put at least a third of our belongings, including the children’s trampoline into a storage unit); plus, since it is a brand new house, there are no floor coverings at all, just concrete and bare boards, and no curtains (not even curtain rails), and since moving house is an expensive business, money has ran out completely this month.

So I’m feeling mostly bright but with the occasional low.

If you are a praying person, please do pray:

– that our previous landlord will refund us with the complete deposit so that
– we can get curtains and floor coverings (we would prefer laminate or vinyl to carpets)
– that we will be able to get a BT landline soon so we can have phone and internet again

I can’t post any photos because I am limited to my mobile phone with a poor signal (I am missing wifi!)

The title of this post is a reference to a Star Trek DS9 episode, where Commander Sisko, Dr. Bashir, Kira Nerys and Jadzia Dax become trapped in a dangerous game, where they are the pieces being moved around by the players, and they have very little control. They just have to try and make sense of the clues and work their way throught the maze. I must admit to feeling a little bit like that. But in the end, the game is over, it all comes good and they’re all saved.

I’d like to breathe a big sigh of relief, but I feel like the ‘game’ isn’t quite over yet and I’m waiting for normal life to return.

The Lord’s Prayer

In response to OrthodoxMom3’s post on The Lord’s Prayer, I thought I would respond by posting a transliteration of the words in Hebrew:

Avinu Sheba-Shamayim,
Yitkadesh Shimkha
Tamlikh Malkhutkha,
Ye’ase Retzonkha,
Ba-Shamayim u-va’Aretz.
Et Lechem Chu’keinu Tein Lanu Ha-Yom.
U’ma’chal Lanu Al Chovoteinu
Keshe’mechalnu Af Anu Lechayaveinu,
Ve’Al Tevienu Lidei Nisayon,
Ela Tatzileinu Min Ha-Ra.
Amen

For more information, take a look at the post on Hebrew for Christians and the UK’s Wild Olive on the significance of Hebrew prayer for Christians.