The end of a year is always a good place to reflect upon where one’s life is at and where it is heading. My problem is that being a thinker is an intrinsic and essential part of who I am . I think too much, too deep, too often. Can’t be helped! When you meditate on things as often and as deeply as I do, you come to realise that when certain thoughts and ideas keep creeping up is because they need to be considered and acted upon, or else they will haunt you and be forever present as painful reminders of your lack of courage and the hope deferred of what could have potentially been a much more fulfilling, purposeful life. There is something in our consciousness, in our spirit that acts like the rudder of our life. We are the ones turning the rudder but ultimately it is most definitely not us at the helm, or at least that is my own personal experience. I am under no false illusion that I direct my steps, but at the end I would like to think that I was able to at least recognise and act wisely, intuitively on those moments in life when I encountered a junction on the road or when a seemingly accidental curve ball was thrown my way to force me into jumping one way or another, to make a choice, to push forward without fear or coercion.

Perhaps what I have been experiencing in these last few months is nothing more than a mid-life crisis; a point in one’s life when you take stock and ponder on all the what-ifs, all the alternative paths one could have taken or may yet still need to take. It is a cliché to state that in the midst of investing one’s life in raising a family and cultivating a marriage with solid roots; in living sacrificially by putting everyone else’s happiness before your own, one can easily loose their identity and simply be identified as the link that keeps different chains together, be it family, work or relationships. Cliché or not, I have most definitely found this is true in my own life.

The recurrent thought or voice echoing on my head as of late has been saying: “Stop hiding behind what you are good at, what is familiar, and go on the journey to discover what it is you are destined to be, what it is you are meant to excel at. Go on a journey of self-discovery. Put for once in your life yourself first and discover what it is that you were made for, what makes your heart sing. I have spent so many years putting everyone else’s needs before my own that I am beginning to feel that my voice, the essence of who I am has got lost in the midst of life’s demands; my voice has been drowned out by those whose voices matter most or so I thought.

I know this will sound heartless and self-absorbed, but I am all about being honest to others and primarily to myself, and so I call it as I see it. Yes, I must say it: I would like to wake up tomorrow and not feel the ongoing, relentless, unforgiving burden of being a mum, a wife, a sister, a daughter or a friend. I want to know what it feels like to be truly free, free from a heavy sense of responsibility, free from the yoke of religion, education, history, expectations and promises, free from the oppressive sense that our life is all panned out for us; from the predictability of what is to come; the barrenness of what will never be. I long for my chains to be broken so that I can walk forward with only one thought in mind: How can I best use my personality, my knowledge and my gifting to be able to claim when it is all said and done that I have lived my life fully, without reservations, fear or regrets; that I have always been true to myself, pursued my truth and no one else’s?

Every fibre of my being assures me that I was meant for more than what I am today, than what I have achieved so far, and I am not talking about a reputation, fame or material success. I am referring solely to a place where my life will finally reach its purpose and full meaning; a point where I can assuredly say: “I have arrived”; a point where there will be no more internal turmoil, wrestling or strife. Perhaps such a place doesn’t exist, but why then be tormented by a void within that no one and nothing can fill? I know I am not alone in feeling this. When you move in Christian circles, you are told that only God can fill that void, but God’s presence is ever beating in my life and yet that void, that call to something more meaningful not only remains but rings louder and clearer each time.

I do not regret the path I have chosen, far from it, but I do not want to resent it because it stopped me from finding out who I am besides Mercedes the mother, the daughter, the sister, the wife. There is so, so much potential in all of us to do extraordinary things. I do not want to short-change myself by hiding behind what it is I am expected to be doing instead of braving it and embarking on the quest of finding what I was truly made to be. I know that longing I feel burning inside of me is a seed that has been planted in my soul. I did not put it there. To ignore that latent undeniable inner call that incites us to discover what is yet to be achieved, what is yet to be fulfilled is to clip the wings of a bald eagle and expect it to still dazzle us with its majestic presence and skill.

There must be more than this. I know there is!


When you are a nervous flyer, you need all the help you can get: moral support, emotional reassurance, the odd reminder of how to breathe properly and even the more effective reminder that whether we fret or not, it is all in God’s hands anyway, so why waste energy worrying about what may or may not happen, right? Easier said than done, though. Phobias can be and often are totally irrational, but for those of us who suffer them, they are as real as the air that we breathe and often cause you to suffer in silence uncontrollably; they are as tangible as feeling your every heartbeat resonate so loud, strong and fast within your chest that your heart no longer feels like a heart, but instead a time-bomb which could explode at any moment; they are as evident as copious amounts of sweat running down the palms of your hands soaking whatever you touch. It certainly doesn’t improve things when you are surrounded by people who lack any kind of empathy or compassion and who put your phobias down as cowardice or a lack of courage, enhancing your already disproportionate sense of doom and gloom.

I always pray hard and often before boarding a plane, not just as I am sitting down in readiness for take off but on the days leading up to my departure. I pray that there is not much turbulence and that we have a safe and enjoyable flight. It is often said that when we pray, God does not answer our prayers so that we get what we asked for, but so that we get what we need to build up our character in order to fulfil our purpose during our journey on this earth. I have found this to be true, time and time again. There are however times when I strongly sense God sending me a life-line or some sort of encouragement to ease the fear of what I am about to embark on, literally.

On this occasion, that lifeline came in the form of Martin Freeman. Only God really knows the life-altering, redemptive and healing effect that The Crucible and Richard Armitage’s rendition of John Proctor had on me; only God really knows the deep and complex reasons why I feel my spirit is so akin to Richard’s; only God really knows the turmoil and heart-break I have gone through in these last few months as I have experienced first hand what it is to be hounded like an animal on social media for simply exercising my right to free speech and to expressing up-front my personal opinions with respect and honesty. Therefore, only God could have known how much was truly riding on this “holiday” and what would be the one and only occurrence which would put my fear of flying at bay; only God could have known how to take away my apprehension and replace it with ironic humour; how to put in front of me a sign that anyone else but me could have missed (indeed no one else but us queuing up to go through security, seemed to recognise Martin Freeman); only He could have been so attuned to me to give me the very timely and opportune reminder that though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for He is with me; his rod and his staff shall comfort me; He will never leave me, nor forsake me.

Think of all the actors in the world I could have bumped into at the airport; the very many days when I could have been at that specific terminal (compared to most I travel often and not just for pleasure but to visit relatives); the many hours in the day when flights take off; the many moments in a minute, minutes in an hour when I could have found myself in that exact queue right next to someone who is so emblematic of the very reasons why I was so desperate and in need of getting away at this point in my life. A miracle would have been to have Richard Armitage himself queuing up right behind me, but bearing in mind I was aware that he was in Vancouver or LA at the time, that turn of events would have been too obvious a choice of a miracle and not have required much faith on my part, would it?

To be continued in Part 3



Being passionate is a double-edged sword

It is a formidable and invaluable weapon if we wish to finish the race

Of pursuing those dreams that burn up inside us

The quests that drives us

In our feeble attempts to leave a better world behind us

But this sword of fire that burns within,

Like the human soul tormented by sin

Rages a ruthless war where for every great battle won

The permanent taste of hurting another renders victories numb.

For she who wants much, will risk much

And it is that same zeal that leads one to triumph

Which all too often also causes irreparable injury and denial.

Being passionate is a blessing as it is a curse

It feeds the fuel that sustains the warrior on his crusade

But in overdose it becomes the poison

That eats up at your better judgement

And alienates you from the dearest of friends

“The earth dries up and withers”. Is God’s word fiction or the reality unfolding in front of our very eyes?

I have often been told that my outlook on everything is rather pessimistic and yes, that is true to some extent. I do however strongly feel that one has to have a certain pessimism built-in within them if they are ever going to have a genuine fear of the Lord, which we know from the Scriptures IS the beginning of wisdom. I think it is important in all areas of life to not be over pessimistic but neither over optimistic. I like to be real; I like to keep it real and I like to be realistic.

I know that our Heavenly Father is Love but I also keep close to my heart and spirit the certainty that God is a Just God in equal measure, a loving Father and specially the only ONE who knows it all, despite the fact that so many who are seen as men and women of God today think they too know it all. God alone can see the end from the beginning and the purpose in everything, the true “bigger picture”.

What we do know for sure, for those of us who accept the Bible as God-inspired and as the revelation of who Jesus is and why He came to the world and why He will come again, is the fact that there will be a day of Judgement. Many Christians shake in disapproval and with righteous anger when they hear such statement mentioned, because to them God is above all else love, and talking about judgement is something which in their eyes is non-sensical seeing as Christ has already paid the price for our sin on the cross and therefore what would be the need or the point of God judging men on that final day or even today? Personally, I feel that this type of Christian attitude does away with the need for ongoing repentance, contrition and the determination to go through a process of sanctification until the day we die; all absolutley vital and key steps in becoming more and more like Christ, which is ultimately what one would hope all Christians are striving for, even when we know we will never be like Him, not really. It is an attitude that brings forward countless of new converts, but the question we need to be asking ourselves at that point is: what are they really converting to seeing as the concept of God’s judgement and our need for repentance and humility are so paramount, clear and prevalent throughout the Scriptures?

Though we don’t know when the end will come, we know without a doubt that it WILL come and we have a pretty good description of what will happen when it does, both in the Old and the New testament. Listen for example to this fragment in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 24, 4-13) and ponder afterwards whether you see any similarities with what is going on in the world today:

The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and withers,
the heavens languish with the earth.
5 The earth is defiled by its people;
they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes
and broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth;
its people must bear their guilt.
Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up,
and very few are left.
7 The new wine dries up and the vine withers;
all the merrymakers groan.
8 The joyful timbrels are stilled,
the noise of the revelers has stopped,
the joyful harp is silent.
9 No longer do they drink wine with a song;
the beer is bitter to its drinkers.
10 The ruined city lies desolate;
the entrance to every house is barred.
11 In the streets they cry out for wine;
all joy turns to gloom,
all joyful sounds are banished from the earth.
12 The city is left in ruins,
its gate is battered to pieces.
13 So will it be on the earth
and among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest.

A view from the International Space Station shows bushfire smoke clouds over southern Australia.

As I was reading these words this morning, the images of the fires currently devastating large areas of Australia and also recently in various States on North America immediately came into my mind. Fires of uncontrollable scale are raging, more and more landscapes are becoming desolate. “Earth’s inhabitants are burned up…” we read in Isaiah. It all seems far too immediate and current already! We are getting to the end of October by which time the weather in the UK has already turned nasty weeks prior, and yet this year we are enjoying spring-like weather at the moment. Temperatures are so much milder (17 degrees forecast for tomorrow) and you do get the sense as you are out and about that indeed the whole earth seems to be warming up at an alarming rate.

Lines of scorched earth and huge smoke plumes from wild fires in Australia were visible from the International Space Station on January 8, 2013. Credit: NASA/Chris Hadfield

Only today as I went out for a walk with my dog, I had to contend with fighting off wasps which themselves appeared disorientated and bewildered as the autumnal landscape which they are not familiar with surrounded them. Little did they know, it was them who did not belong in such a landscape at such a time and not the other way around. I think there is a hidden message in that somewhere, but it is not coming to me right now. I will ponder on that a bit later perhaps!

I am not deliberately trying to be a scaremonger, far from it, but one cannot deny that there is a general sense of inevitability and bewilderment amongst earth’s inhabitants today. We realise we have neglected our duty and responsibility of looking after our planet and everything that is in it: our marriages, our lifestyles, our children, our relationships, our morals or lack of, and yet we continue doing “business as usual” instead of actually trying to either repent and change our ways, instead of humbling ourselves and finally recognising that neither we are God nor will we ever be, instead of putting aside our differences and concentrating on what we have in common: our humanity and those things which are vital to our existence: our planet and everything that lives in it.

Christians, the people of God, above anyone else should lead by example by coming alongside each other in unity to encourage and bless each other as we seek to do God’s will, and yet, disunity, pride and a desperate need to stamp our own identity and validity above anyone else within the Christian world is only too apparent when one ponders on the dozens of different Christian denominations and church identities we see all around us. We brag about how good we have it in our own church, how our church’s vision is the one that clearly capture’s God’s heart for His people, belittling in this manner what any other Christian individual or group may be doing be it in their community, for each other or in the world, instead of joining forces as the Body of Christ should to compliment and enhance what each other is doing. The problem with that is the results would no longer point to how amazing WE are, but to the kind of God we claim we serve.

I also see Isaiah’s prophetic words coming to pass not only in the natural world but much more so in the spiritual realm, amongst all Christians, as a scattering of God’s people of biblical proportions is taking place in the world today. Whilst in times past during so called “revivals” Christians were known for their gatherings together and their fight for a common cause and purpose, there is today a great sense of so many individuals being scattered outside of the “Structural” and “Institutional” fold, individuals who are searching for the one and true God whose temple is not made with human hands. These people who are being scattered are also experiencing a tremendous and unrelenting time of draught but the difference is that their draught results from God’s mercy and not his judgement, as He seeks to remove from us anything or anyone who is not from HIM or who deviates us from our true purpose in Christ, anything or anyone who is stopping us from following HIM and from doing HIS will.

I think I should finish with another portion of Scripture which pretty much sums up what I am trying to say here:

Isaiah 26, 7-11

7The path of the righteous is level;
you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,[a]
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
the people of the world learn righteousness.
10 But when grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and do not regard the majesty of the Lord.
11 Lord, your hand is lifted high,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame;
let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.

My best birthday present to date has been the GIFT of Awareness.

Today I am 44 years old.  Never before have I felt so comfortable in my own skin, so happy to walk in my own shoes, so free to be who I am called to be and to exist in the manner that I was fearfully and wonderfully made to exist.

Of all the presents I have ever received none come even close to the magnitude and beauty that the gift of awareness has meant in my life and that of those who share in this life alongside me.

To me a birthday is not an annual occurrence but a daily one, for each day is a fresh and new opportunity to share in God’s grace, to be showered in his blessings and to find new mercies in Him, and most importantly to be reborn and bathed in His Spirit . I want to spend the rest of my life cultivating a heart that is aware and grateful for all the good things and for the meaning, purpose and reason behind the bad things too.

Today on my 44th birthday I am GRATEFUL:

  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that we have the opportunity to start afresh each day, for the bad to be washed away through Christ’s redemptive nature and for the new to take hold and meaning.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY  AWARENESS that up to this point it is the grace of God and his mercy that have sustained my faith, my marriage, my parenting, my children, my health, my home, our business, our extended families, our friends and those spiritual lighthouses who help us to keep perspective and a righteous frame in our daily walk.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that miracles are not only found in the unexpected, extraordinary, unexplainable, or grandiose occurrences, but much more so in the little details of our existence and that of our environment which we don’t take any notice of because we take these things for granted. There is a miracle in the new rose bud that is about to open, the dove that flies over my garden as I am praying, the weird and wonderful cloud formations that keep me forever wondering, the laughter of a friend who is able to laugh and appreciate friendship despite his personal challenges and struggles, the fight within of a cancer sufferer who refuses to give up and battles with all they have until the power of determination overcomes the power of the illness.  There is a miracle in the Autistic child that can’t make heads or tails of why he feels the way he does but is able to say “Mum, I love you and what am I going to do when you are no longer here with me?”. There is a miracle in the husband who one day fights with the frustration of being let down by his wife and the next renews his affections and love by giving her a gift.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that much will be asked of those of us to whom much has been given and alongside that thought the awareness that I own nothing really but I am a steward to much and therefore have a responsibility to myself, God and others to look after those things and people who have been entrusted under my care; to be generous with them and compassionate.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that millions suffer everyday as they lack the most basic of needs and rights, and the painful DAILY awareness that their joy always manifests within them in equal measure to and despite their pain. What is our excuse for complaining about our own predicaments? How dare we?
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that I am here today but may no longer be here tomorrow and what did I do with all my todays and tomorrows?
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that today never comes back and so after it is gone would I have left the world or at least “my world” a better place?
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that I fail my calling everyday to honour God and to love him above all else with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength, and yet He never fails to continue forgiving and loving me, because unlike me He is not the God of second chances but countless.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that the fire that keeps the coals of my faith burning does not lie within a church, a church family, a religious system or even a house group, but with the Spirit of God Himself and I therefore have a direct source and access to that Spirit for He lives in me and I in Him and it is that constancy and that assurance that keeps my fire burning and not any external agent within the natural realm.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that only when I have failed, I can learn what true success is and how to obtain it.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that every now and then I need to take some punches in order to be taken down a peg or two so that I do not think of myself higher than I ought to.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that my birthday is not today but everyday and with each new day comes a fresh opportunity to become aware of all the things above all over again, an opportunity to stop, take stock and give thanks for the grace and the unconditional love that God gives me and which I do not deserve.



If we only acknowledge and long for God in the signs and the wonders, we will become ensnared by religion instead of being freed by relationship

Today did not start so well. My husband is currently away at a Construction Fair in London and so though our dog sleeps on his bed in the kitchen most nights, I decided to have him right next to my bed last night. I know he finds it comforting and needless to say, I do too when I am the only adult in the house.

Jake - 6.03.13 001

Jake, our dog, is in the habit of playing with pebbles in his mouth. Not the most tasty of snacks but he sure gets a lot of fun out of those.  The problem is that he sometimes swallows them, and I am talking about pebbles the size of small plums. He is only 15 months old, and of course like any youngster, he will do everything and anything in his power to get my attention, and so when the novelty of his toys wears off and mummy no longer wants to play because though I think I am still 18, the aches on my body tell a different story, Jake grabs a pebble and this is sure to get my attention.

Anyway, to cut a long story short or shorter, I got woken up this morning at 5am by the sound of Jake vomiting right next to my bed.  It is not as disgusting as it sounds, I promise you.  Next thing I know, a pebble comes right out of his stomach onto my bedroom floor.  Lovely!! I get up at 5.50 from Monday to Friday, so it was not too bad, but not exactly the alarm bell I was counting on.

Yesterday by contrast, it was a perfect day from beginning to end.  The spring sun shone and for the first time in months the temperatures rose to a glorious 16 degrees which in full sun felt more like 20.  I took Jake for one of our regular walks and I was blessed to see one of my favourite but very elusive sightings: two beautiful buzzards, male and female, hunting over a field opposite my house. They were such big, majestic, elegant birds.  I was made aware of their presence way, way before I actually caught sight of them, because they were making a very distinctive sound as they communicated with each other whilst looking for prey.

Jake was oblivious to it all as I basked in the Spring sunshine with my head pointed towards the heavens and admired the seamless flight of one of the wonders of nature. Birds of Prey have a very special place in my soul. I feel a kind of strange, inexplicable but at the same time familiar connection with them. I can’t explain what it is about them, but when I see one, my heart jumps a beat and everything else around me becomes secondary because I get totally caught up in the moment watching these birds as if time had stopped and nothing else mattered.  I am deeply intrigued by them and also filled with admiration for their qualities and magnificence.  I can’t explain why I feel like this.  It is just part of my make up, I guess.

As I watched them soar above me, I was bewitched by their presence.  It is as if they belonged more to another realm than to the natural realm where the rest of living creatures are.  When you look in their eye, it is almost like they know something you don’t. It was at that moment caught up in those reflections, that I felt the presence of God strongly imprinted on my soul. I felt God giving me that wonderful picture of what the life of a follower of his son Jesus Christ is supposed to be like: a life full of confidence in the ability to see above and beyond what any other creature on this earth can see, an ability to see not only the bigger picture but also the devil in the detail, literally, and of course the ability to soar to heights were the concerns of this world cannot drag us down, hold us there and rend us ineffective to do good works and to bring light and salt to a decaying world.

Birds of Prey, eagles specially, have this quiet assurance of who they are, and what they can do, and the rest of the animal kingdom has a healthy respect and understanding of their standing within that kingdom and so no other animal dares to mess with them, except of course perhaps for other birds of prey whose pride and confidence may have been blown out of proportion, when they think of themselves higher than they ought to, for ultimately even the eagles are God’s creation and are imperfect.

The day before that I was also blessed during my walk with Jake as I saw two deer, male and female gracing on the field behind my house.  They were no more than 20m away from us at one point.  As we spotted each other, we both froze on the spot and then simply stared at each other as if enchanted by some mysterious force in the air. By contrast to the eagles and other birds of prey, these animals are very fearful and come across as terribly vulnerable to other beasts and to the dangers of this world in general.  They are beautiful, graceful animals nevertheless, and I always cherish these encounters as a treat from above.

Getting back to how my day started today, after the saga with my dog being sick and having survived yet another morning of getting the kids ready for school on time, well fed, clean and well equipped, which is no small feat, I ventured out with the dog yet again for one of our daily walks.  Today however, the sun was not shining and there was a stillness in the landscape that numbed the senses. What a contrast with the two days prior, I thought! What a bore!

No sooner had that thought entered my mind, I sensed God raising my awareness about the fact that our relationship with Him, our ability to communicate with Him, to get to know Him, to learn to trust Him should never be dependant on our circumstances, our rare glimpses of Him in the wonders of creation or even in the signs and wonders that He sometimes blesses us with. We are all on a journey; we are all a work in progress and just as we shouldn’t love members of our family any less on the grounds of beauty, personality, or physical or mental ability,  we must not resent, ignore or simply discount the dull days, the uneventful days, the quiet days which are an integral part of our journey through learning to know, love and trust God.

I also felt deeply comforted by my Heavenly Father as I sensed him letting me know that His revelation of who He is and of our purpose may not always be made manifest in the signs and the wonders, in the spectacular or in what is beautiful and exceptional. There will also be seasons and to be sure days and days, weeks and weeks, months and even years on end when there will be no eagle or deer sightings, no signs in the sky or a personalised message, no direction from Him, not even a whisper, and yet it is in those very seasons that our trust in Him really is tested and comes to full maturity, because if we learn to rely on Him alone, to trust in Him alone and to wait on Him alone when all is quiet, dull and uneventful, we will develop a much needed attitude of awe and thankfulness for those precious moments when HIS signs and wonders do indeed take place.  It will be His presence that we learn to seek after, and not his gifts or what He can give us.  We no longer will feel entitlement but will be humbled and grateful for whatever whispers we get from HIM and gradually as we get to know Him more intimately in the good days and the bad ones too, our journey will be all about what we can give back to HIM and others through HIM and not about what we can take for ourselves to be claimed as our own.

God’s strength sure shines through in our weakness as death in Jesus is never the end but a glorious beginning

This is the video of Daisy Love’s Memorial Celebration (related to my previous post)

It is one of the most inspirational, up-lifting, encouraging, pure and most importantly truth-full testimonies of how Jesus Christ is indeed the way, the truth and the life that I have ever had the privilege and blessing of seeing and hearing.

Thank you Britt, Kate and Isaiah, and above all thank you Daisy for though I did not know you, your faith, your journey and your soul have touched me in ways and depths which no other human being has been able to. The Spirit of Christ shone through you whilst on this earth, but now your Spirit lives on and glows like a star for eternity as you ARE with FATHER in HEAVEN.

Thank you Lord for bringing this family into my life and my own journey and the life and journey of thousands of other Christians around the world who have been drawn that much closer to YOU today and forever through the endurance, selflessness, joy, love, compassion, generosity and specially and above all through their  utter and complete trust in YOU and YOU alone JESUS.