Child of God

He's got the whole world in His hands!

Keswick

“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.” (Psalm 18:30)

Hello again. I hope you are all well and still coping with the lockdown situation. I have been naughty, reading the news headlines again! I really shouldn’t as my mood then fluctuates. We’ve booked a holiday for the last week in April – the same bungalow in Shropshire as last September – and I am really hoping we get there. I’ve already planned outings to see both my sisters – outdoors, obviously – as it seems so long since we were able to do this.

Some people think that belief in God is a crutch for those who cannot make it on their own. God is indeed a shield to protect us when we are too weak to face certain trials by ourselves, but He does not want us to remain weak. He strengthens, protects and guides us, in order to send us back into the world to live for Him.

A windy day!

All God’s words are right and true – they can be trusted. The Bible is reliable because, unlike people, God doesn’t lie, forget, change His mind or fail to keep His promises. We can trust the Bible because it contains the words of a holy, trustworthy and unchangeable God.

All God’s words are right and true – they can be trusted. The Bible is reliable because, unlike people, God doesn’t lie, forget, change His mind or fail to keep His promises. We can trust the Bible because it contains the words of a holy, trustworthy and unchangeable God.

Keswick

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 56:4)

These are a few pictures from our ‘minimoon’ – a short trip to Keswick after our wedding. We had very limited time, as I had to go back to Poland to finish my two-year contract, so we just had two nights in Keswick. This is a very special place for us, as it was where we first discussed marriage, and spent some quality time together.

“May Your unfailing love come to me, O Lord, Your salvation according to Your promise.” (Psalm 119:41)

There was some poignancy to our Keswick trip, as it had been our wedding present from my friend, Sam, who died just nine days before we married. She had chosen the beautiful and cosy guesthouse and we really loved it.

My birthday occurred while we were away, and we had a meal at a lovely country pub we had discovered on our last trip. The weather was atrocious, in true Lake District style – but that didn’t stop us from going into Grasmere and Bowness. We had a couple of very muddy walks! We were booked in for two nights and had originally considered staying an extra night but the torrential rain didn’t appeal and we decided to go back to Warrington. As anyone who knows the Lake District will tell you, it doesn’t just rain but it pours!

Grasmere

“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word.” (Psalm 119:114)

A honeymoon should be a happy time and, to a certain extent, it was. But I couldn’t help feeling so sad and shocked about the loss of Sam. It was a cloud over our time together. As well as this, my imminent return to Poland was hanging over us. Sam had been booked on the flight to return with me for a week’s holiday but, instead, we would be attending her funeral six days after our wedding. I had managed to postpone my return from Saturday to the following Tuesday, so at least I wouldn’t be on the flight that Sam should have been on.

Our ‘real’ honeymoon was booked for July, when we would stay in my sister-in-law’s apartment in Murcia.

Thinking about lunch!

“These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)

Sad things happen to everyone; it’s part of life. As I already said, I am sometimes prone to depression but I always turn to my wonderful saviour, Jesus, who’s there for me every minute of the day. I’m not a morning person and occasionally don’t feel up to facing the day, especially with being retired and Kev working full-time. Lockdown doesn’t help, of course…

I try to have some structure to my day, starting with a strong coffee and my Bible study. I don’t always feel like reading the Bible but, once I start, it does give me some comfort. I usually feel a bit more cheerful by the end of my study, and am more ready to do something with my day.

No matter what happens in your world – good, bad or indifferent – Jesus is there for you, interested in your every thought, word and deed. And, yes, that can be quite scary sometimes! 😀

As always, wishing you a safe, well and peaceful weekend.

Love Ann ❤

No Christ, no hope - know Christ, know hope!

My birthday meal

My wedding shower - I am the third from the left.

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22)

This verse states that it is good to be married. There’s a lot of emphasis today on individual freedom. Strong individuals are important, of course, but so are strong marriages.

Kev and I married on 18 February 2017 at Bridgewater Baptist Church in Eccles, Salford. We did this on my winter break from the Christian language school in Wroclaw, where I was employed as an English teacher. The school closed for two weeks and I had one week to prepare for my wedding, before marrying just one week before I was due to return to Poland.

My friends in Poland asked if they could give me a bridal shower and I was delighted to accept. This took place about a week before I was due to fly home, and they did me proud. I had a wonderful time and was thoroughly spoiled with food and gifts, including some beautiful Polish pottery, which Kev and I eventually managed to transport home without mishap.

Showing off my wedding gifts - some would say I was just showing off!

“And the two shall become one flesh, so they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:8-9)

God’s intention was that marriage would bring oneness. Jesus held up God’s ideal for marriage and told His followers to live by that ideal.

All dressed up and somewhere to go!

Tracy, my pastor’s wife, had invited me to stay overnight prior to my wedding day and she took me out for a meal on the eve of the wedding. Our marriage was at 1pm and Tracy treated me to a manicure and a haircut and blow wave in the morning. Andrew (our pastor) cooked a five-star breakfast when we returned. I got married from their house and was picked up at the door by my brother-in-law, in a ‘right posh car’!

The blushing bride on her way to church

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Mr and Mrs at the church

Our society often confuses love and lust. I was previously guilty of this, myself! Unlike lust, God’s kind of love is directed outwards towards others, not inwards towards ourselves. It is utterly unselfish. It’s only possible to practise this love if God helps us to set aside our own desires and instincts, so that we can give love while expecting nothing in return. The more we become like Christ, the more love we will show to others.

Our wedding meal

“Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14)

Oddly enough, I felt no nerves at all prior to the wedding. I felt completely calm and had no doubts at all. I even rang Kev on the morning of our wedding day, to have a quick chat. We had a rehearsal the previous evening and Andrew had advised me to move slowly down the aisle, as I have a tendency to walk quickly. Nevertheless, I forgot his instructions in all the excitement and apparently made my way to my future husband with indecent haste! I like to joke that it had taken me so long to actually get married that I was worried he might change his mind – no danger of that, though…

As I walked down the aisle, I was delighted to see all my friends and family but was especially touched to note that my friend Sam’s fiance was sitting there with his mum. This was the only sad note in the day, as Sam should have been sitting at the side of Jeremy, smiling with happiness and excitement for me.

Janet, Susan and me - the three sisters

“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)

This is written by Paul, and shows a picture of the relationship between Christ and His church. Paul states that marriage is a holy union, a living symbol and a precious relationship, which needs tender and self-sacrificing care.

We had kept our wedding simple for various reasons, one of which was that we did not have much cash to spare. We were overwhelmed by generosity, though. One of my sisters bought my entire wedding outfit, the other sister paid for our wedding night at a local hotel, and the cake and coffee reception was a gift from Kev’s work colleagues and friends. My sister had also splashed out and reserved a small, local restaurant for a wonderful meal for our immediate family and close friends, and a good time was had by all.

Pastor Andrew and his wife Tracy

“Above all love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

All our friends and family pitched in, one way or another, and we were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of gifts we received. We felt surrounded by love and good wishes and I am sure everyone says it but it was a special, magical and wonderful day, which we will always look back on with gratitude.

Looking back on this memorable day, I am again so very grateful to the Lord for His intervention in my life. Although married for four years, I don’t feel as though this amount of time has passed already. If anyone had told me the first time I saw Kev that he was my future husband, I would have laughed! I had my plans to travel the world, thank you very much – who needed the drag of a husband? Well, all I can say is that God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform! I will also add that He definitely saved the best for last – in my case, at least!

Wishing you all God's blessings

Love, Ann ❤

No Christ, no hope - Know Christ, know hope!

Engagement celebration at Bridgewater Baptist Church, Eccles, Salford - 2015

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)

Hi there. I hope you’re all well and managing to cope in these challenging times. Kev and I have been making mental lists of all the places we want to visit, once we’re allowed. Really hoping the road-map out of lockdown happens as planned but, of course, there are no guarantees – all we can do is hope and pray. We try to focus on what we do have, rather than what we don’t. As I’ve said previously, we are fortunate enough to live in an area with several beauty spots within walking or short driving distance – but that doesn’t stop us longing to go beyond those borders and revisit our favourite places.

Saying goodbye to Josh at Liverpool airport, prior to flying to Poland

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” (Psalm 143:8)

I put my trust in God just over ten years ago and I let Him lead me to the life He wanted me to live. After three live-in relationships with men who had usually put themselves first, I had given up on the male species and concluded that I would be better off on my own. Indeed, I enjoyed several years as a singleton and didn’t see the need for a relationship for quite a time after I became a Christian. When I started to attend church, I did not imagine that one of the benefits would be a husband!

Kev had previously attended my church when he lived in Salford. After ten years of living in Scotland, his marriage broke down and he returned to his home town of Warrington. He decided to return to Bridgewater Baptist in Eccles, and I am so glad he did. I had been a member of the church for about three years when Kev showed up for the first time in February 2014. He told me that he was interested in me as soon as he caught a glimpse of me going into church, as he pulled up outside; I didn’t even register his presence!

Kev is not the type of person to push himself forward, being a quiet and rather reserved man. When I did finally notice him, I thought he was a somewhat taciturn individual and remarked on this to Tracy, the pastor’s wife. She explained why he was not the life and soul of the party; apparently, his marriage of 20 years had broken up recently. I immediately took pity on him and determined to make an effort to be friendly with him.

Me and Josh in Morecambe

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them down on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 3:3)

Over the following months, Kev and I got to know each other and became good friends. I was uncomfortably aware, though, that his feelings for me went beyond friendship, and I had no intention of getting involved in a relationship. For a start, I certainly didn’t consider him my type at all. He was a lovely chap but my feelings went no deeper than friendship. But, as I spent more time with him, I began to realise what a wonderful person he was.

We exchanged numbers and would occasionally text and ring each other and I discovered his dry sense of humour. It was good to have a male friend; I had plenty of female friends but this was an added bonus.

With Josh at Southport - one of our favourite places

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour; if either one of them falls down, one can help the other up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9)

Kev came as part of a package – his son, Josh, who was five years old at the time Kev re-joined our church. He had brought Josh back to Warrington, where he was to live for almost three years, before returning to his mum in Scotland. Now, as I think I have previously mentioned, I have never been a ‘kiddy’ person. I have no maternal instinct and have never wanted children, so the impact of this little fellow on my life was so much more astonishing.

We were on a church trip to Hollingsworth Lake when Josh ‘accosted’ me and asked me to play with him. I was quite surprised, as I don’t usually attract the attention of small people, but I politely agreed. He trustingly took my hand, walking alongside me and chattering confidently. He was funny and cute and intelligent and perceptive. He stole my heart!

I quickly became besotted with this small boy. I bored my friends with tales of what Josh had done and said. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him. This was unheard of for me, and people could hardly believe it when I told them. By this time, I had my contract for Poland, to start in September 2015, and all I wanted to do was to spend as much time with Josh as I could. Needless to say, Kev came with the deal, so I happily met up with them both for walks, tea, any excuse to see Josh. But – slowly and surely – I was beginning to develop feelings for Kev. I saw how he was with Josh, and what a wonderful and loving father he was. I got to know Kev, heard his story and shared mine. We became such good friends.

I remember once when the three of us were taking a walk along the canal in Monton; it was a beautiful day. Suddenly, Josh asked, “Ann, are you married?” I said I wasn’t and he replied, “Why don’t you marry my dad, then?” He took mine and Kev’s hands and put them together! I pulled away as if I’d been burned and I don’t know whose face was redder – mine or Kev’s! I firmly believe this was God’s doing. He wanted me to be with Kev and used Josh to bridge the gap between us. And I have to say, Josh did a sterling job! I found that I was missing Kev, as well as Josh, when I wasn’t with them. I was talking to my sister about Kev, when she said, “You love him!” I denied it strenuously but she knew …

We began to talk on the phone on most evenings and we would also email each other at work, sharing anecdotes about our day. The lady I worked with once remarked that my face ‘lit up like a Christmas tree’ when I got an email from Kev. Hmmm.. I had to finally admit to myself that I was falling for Kev but there were so many problems. After our previous histories, I wondered if either of us would be able to trust again, but my real concern was that I had just signed up for two years as a teacher in Poland at a Christian English language school. I had prayed for this opportunity and there was no way I was going to let the Lord down on this. Two years seemed such a long time and I told myself that we couldn’t possibly make it work. But God had other ideas..

My lovely Kev in a cafe in Hove

“This is my beloved and this is my friend.” (Songs of Solomon 5:16)

I was due to give up my flat in Monton and go to Brighton for two months to teach English, prior to going to Poland in September. We were in June 2015 by now, and Kev and I hadn’t even kissed! That changed the day before Brighton, when we shared our first kiss. It was bitter-sweet, as we knew we wouldn’t see each other for several weeks but there was a light at the end of the tunnel, as we had arranged to go to the Keswick Convention in July with Jane, another friend from church.

I went off to my new job in Brighton and we spoke to each other daily. The first four weeks soon went by in my teaching job, and then we had a lovely time in Keswick, getting to know each other in the context of ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ instead of merely being friends. Poor Jane must have felt like a bit of a gooseberry, and would make excuses not to join us for walks, but Kev attended a lot more Bible studies than we did, so Jane and I had our girly time, shopping and having coffee. I had to return to Brighton for a further four weeks, and Kev drove me down, so I could avoid the dreaded National Express journey there.

Loch Lomond - a trip we made together in July 2016

After my time in Brighton, I had just a few days before I was due to fly to Poland. Kev drove me to the airport and I had mixed feelings of excitement for my new venture, alongside sadness that I wouldn’t see him until Christmas, almost four months away. We did our ‘courting’ over the phone while I was in Poland. We must have spent thousands of hours on the iPad he had donated to me so we could enjoy face time. I was still quite sceptical of how our new, long-distance relationship would work and I told Kev every single detail of my lurid past. I suppose I wanted to test him and find out just how keen he was. Looking back, I gave him quite a hard time but his infinite patience and kindness convinced me that he was definitely the man for me.

Some time around October, we decided to get engaged when I came home at Christmas. Kev had sent me photos of various engagement rings, after suggesting I might like an emerald – he knows I love green! I chose my ring and he ascertained my size, and the ring was waiting for me when I got back for the Christmas break.

It’s odd, really, because Kev never did propose to me; neither did I propose to him! The relationship just evolved naturally and seamlessly from friendship to loving each other. We wanted to be together and, as Christians, we knew the only way would be marriage. I remember a walk we had along the canal in Lymm, shortly before I went to Poland, when we had a long discussion about Bible prophecy, of all things. This has always been a fascinating subject to me and I have converted Kev to being as enthusiastic as I am. He remarked that he had never been able to talk to his ex-wife the way he could talk to me. At that point, I jauntily informed him that I would marry him but that he would have to wait two years for me. His response was to hug me and say, “Praise the Lord! You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this!” He added that he would even wait for three years if I wanted to do an extra year in Poland! I didn’t accept that generous offer, needless to say.

Josh and Kev in my apartment in Wroclaw

“And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."”(1 Corinthians 13:13)

When I returned from Poland for the Christmas break, Kev brought Josh with him to pick me up from the airport. We immediately went to a local pub for lunch, where we officially ‘pledged our troth’. Josh was thrilled and we were really happy.

Before I met Kev, I had heard so many stories from various people about how they knew they had met the right one. Marriage had been discussed with all my previous partners but I simply didn’t want to get married – didn’t see the need or the point. But I wasn’t a Christian at that time. There was no ‘bolt of lightning’ with me. As I spent more time with Kev, I just knew with a certainty that God wanted us to be together. I fought it for quite a while but God is very persistent when He wants you to do something.

In my past experience, ‘love’ has manifested itself as butterflies, addiction, compulsion. I actually used to push ‘nice’ men away, convinced that they would bore me; I wanted the bad boys! Much good that did me.

I remember being at work years ago and a colleague receiving a huge bouquet of flowers from her husband. I was so envious, wishing I could enjoy a decent relationship with a good man but I didn’t think that would ever happen to me. After my breakdown, I underwent extensive counselling, and this made me realise that my self-esteem had been quite low for much of my life, after enduring bullying at school for a period of approximately 18 months. I didn’t actually believe I deserved to be treated well; hence the attraction to men who would abuse me.

Kev and Josh in Orford Park, Warrington

“No-one has seen God; but we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12)

Love is the greatest of all human qualities and is an attribute of God Himself.

Kev and Josh on Llandudno pier

After reading this, please don’t think I’m being smug – on the contrary, I am merely expressing my gratitude to God for his intervention in my life. I would urge you all to put your trust in Jesus. There’s no guarantee of a new husband but there is certainly a guarantee of a changed life, with forgiveness for sin, and a wonderful future in eternity with the living God. Having said that, you never know what He has in store for you; I would never have dreamed of this outcome!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog and would love you to share it with family, friends, colleagues – anyone who you think might benefit from it. The main reason I write this every week is that I hope it might lead someone who doesn’t know Christ to invite Him into their life. I will probably never know the outcome but God will – and that is why I will continue to do this every week.

Kev and Josh on my balcony in Wroclaw

Now in my 60s, I have finally hit the jackpot and am married to a kind, honest, decent, compassionate man, who always puts me first. He also happens to be my best friend. Oh, and he’s my brother in Christ, too – how good is that? 😀

After reading this, please don’t think I’m being smug – on the contrary, I am merely expressing my gratitude to God for his intervention in my life. I would urge you all to put your trust in Jesus. There’s no guarantee of a new husband but there is certainly a guarantee of a changed life, with forgiveness for sin, and a wonderful future in eternity with the living God. Having said that, you never know what He has in store for you; I would never have dreamed of this outcome! I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog and would love you to share it with family, friends, colleagues – anyone who you think might benefit from it. The main reason I write this every week is that I hope it might lead someone who doesn’t know Christ to invite Him into their life. I will probably never know the outcome but God will – and that is why I will continue to do this every week.

God bless Love, Ann ❤

No Christ, no hope - know Christ, know hope!

Llandudno prom - one of our favourite places

“So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:21)

Hi everyone. I really hope you are all keeping safe and well. But there is at least a light at the end of the tunnel, now the vaccine has started making its rounds. We are really looking forward to the possibility of getting out and about a bit and maybe meeting up with friends and family, when it is permitted.

We love our walks and being able to see the trees and spring flowers but, most of all, we enjoy the wildlife. This seems to be the season for squirrels and robins – very cute! Like many other people, we enjoy a trip to the zoo, when it’s allowed, and one of the best zoos we have visited is in Wroclaw. It’s one of the biggest in Poland and I have visited it some five times, with Kev and Josh on one or two occasions.

Cheeky bird at the zoo

“Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature that was its name.” (Genesis 2:19)

The man referred to in the above verse is, of course, the first man in creation – Adam. God gave him the mammoth task of naming every living creature on the earth. I can’t think how he dreamed up names for them all but apparently he did!

Wroclaw aquarium

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-9)

In the story of Noah found in the Old Testament, God instructed him to build an ark to God’s exact specifications. Humanity had become so corrupted that the Lord had determined to destroy His creation with a flood and start again.

However, Noah, a righteous man in God’s eyes, had found favour and was instructed to take into the ark male and female specimens of all the animals in the world, along with his family. They were the only ones who survived the flood.

I realise this has nothing to do with the above Bible verse, but I do think Noah's story should be included in an animal-themed blog. 😀

Pussy cat!

“You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.” (Psalm 8:6-8)

God gave human beings a huge task – to be in charge of the whole earth. But, with that authority, comes responsibility. How do you treat God’s creation? We should use our resources wisely because Gods holds us accountable for our stewardship of the world He gave us to live in.

Josh and the goat

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)

This verse always fascinates me, as I long to see this happen! Just imagine – a world without anything to fear. The dog that doesn’t bite, the bee that doesn’t sting – just the sheer pleasure of enjoying the fellowship of all living creatures. That’s paradise for you..

The most dangerous animal in the world!

“The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” (Isaiah 11:7)

A golden age is yet to come – a time of peace, when children could play with formerly dangerous animals. Such perfect tranquillity is possible only when Christ returns to reign on this earth.

Butterfly house, Wroclaw zoo

Most weeks, I have a sound plan for my blog but I have to admit this doesn’t always happen! Naturally, I pray for the Lord’s inspiration and help before I write but I sometimes end up scratching my head and wondering just what to say. I wanted to feature some of my pictures from visits to the zoo and have tried to focus on Bible verses around the topic of animals.

I am including two pictures of lizards just because I can! I love these creatures. My ex-partner kept Iguanas for pets. They were very cute but the most revolting thing about them was their dietary requirements – they ate live crickets! Occasionally, they would escape from their tank and reduce me to hysteria, especially on the day that I thrust my foot into my slipper, only to encounter a cheeky critter hopping about inside! That hobby was soon curtailed, followed shortly by the owner of said lizards. Oh, well …

Predictably, I am concluding this week’s blog by wishing you a safe, healthy and happy weekend. Predictably, I am urging you to invite the Lord Jesus Christ into your life, if you have not already done so. I can recommend Him highly, from personal experience.

God bless.

Love, Ann ❤

No Christ, no hope - know Christ, know hope.

Ain't he cute!