Letter to my 15 year old self

Letter to my 15 year old self.

Dear Me aged 15

Life is strange and here I am writing to you. What can I tell you that will make the next few years go smoothly!

Mum & Dad are amazing people. Stop arguing with them, mum especially. They are amazing people who care so much about you and in a few years time when they push you to grow in the areas of your life that you don’t care about now, trust them. You and dad will never agree on politics (or dancing in church) so don’t bother.
You and mum will agree to disagree and she will care for you and love you and you need to make sure you laugh more with her because that is what you are going to miss the most, I say that but then asking her to make certain recipes would also be really useful.
On the other hand, make the most of the family time you have because you remember all those second hand Italian language books, well you are going to need them pretty soon. Man that is going to be one big adventure and you will learn a language even if you don’t think you can.
In a few years time, you are going to become a Salvation Army officer and you will make friends with some pretty amazing people in those 2 years. You will meet people that will become your support link and your best friends and your party friends and there will be tears but also laughter.
I suppose you already have worked out that the important things in life are faith and family and friends and justice.
Faith will keep you going when you feel like nothing else will. When you feel depressed to the point of not wanting to get out of bed, that is what is going to get you up and then to take you to a place of healing. A place where you will learn that the Joy of the Lord is your strength and healing and capable to change life.
Friends are going to become brothers and sisters to you. You will get hurt but you will also learn to forgive and more importantly be forgiven because you will be needy (well most teenagers are!). You are going to meet some people who will change your life and the way you look at life. I won’t mention all of them here but keep an eye for a particular Salvation Army officer from Holland. A meeting with her will transform you in ways that will make sense later.
You will travel to places you never dreamed and you will learn to overcome prejudices and realize that you have something to say to the world. Mum will tell you this a lot.
There is going to be a rotten moment with our parents dying and you will hate the moments when it happens but you will discover the reality of the love people had for them and the love they had for you. You are going to struggle to find your identity. You are going to ask lots of questions but the answers will come. Store up as many stories as you can right now because when the darkness of grief comes over you, then these stories will be the light in your heart. In those dark moments, you will feel prayed for and loved beyond anything you can imagine. Don’t panic – it’s okay.

And finally, You are going to realize that you are different and weird and don’t fit in. That’s actually a cool thing. No-one says you have to fit in. It’s completely okay to wear some of the crazy clothes you are going to love and especially the glow in the dark earrings that dad will hate. Others will love the fact that you enjoy being yourself and give them the chance to be themselves. With this is going to come a responsibility to the youth you will meet, most of whom are fighting a battle along the way. Some days they will annoy you and others you will love them being around you.

So I could tell you so much more but I reckon that would ruin life.
Take Care of me.

Busy times behind and ahead.

tree decoration
tree decoration

Firstly to say thank you for all the wonderful Birthday cards I receved and now the flurry of Christmas cards that arrive daily and they cheer my heart. My house has Christmas all over it and so does my office too now.
Lots has happened since I last wrote. Officers (ministers) met together for 3 days of teaching and worship. I presented the Anti Trafficking project and what we have done so far. Some were in shock about how much we have completed and I am pleased to say that also we are thinking ahead for the future, I have someone who is a Corps (church) leader to aid me in the project and being Italian this means we are looking to the future. I think and believe that God has something special planned for this small band of followers here in Italy.
In the mean time, I was privileged to be a part of the youth weekend here in Rome and to share on a subject very close to my heart: Friendship. It was a lot of fun but here I am 3 days later and still recovering from it.
And then there is carolling for Christmas in central Rome – which looks simply amazing and glorious and made me feel less homesick as it looks great and is done in the Italian way. Our little band of musicians, including myself go out 3 or 4 times a week and we are pleased with the response and the possibility of converstaions with people.
Soon it will be Christmas and it will be my first in the Italy for 11 years. I have to admit that I am not missing all the busyness that came with Faith House but I am missing singing some of the carols and so each day I blast one out in my house and enjoy that time.
Next year is going to be a busy year with me visiting places for a week and time with our church leaders and sharing the what Trafficking is and how we can move forward to see change in our world.
Please continue to pray for us and for the witness we share each and every time we go “carolling”.
If I don’t get time to send you a message – just want to say Have a blessed and peaceful Christmas and a joyful New Year.

candles

Confirmation

There are a couple of things I have been praying and thinking about recently that I won’t go into detail over here. Now whether you are a believer or not there is that gut feeling sometimes to leave it and wait. For me as a Christian – it’s God; but for non Christians – instinct I guess! Anyway, so this week – I clearly felt God say, “wait a while! I have it sorted” both for me and for some other people I know. And it’s a very weird place to be but that’s okay!
This morning in my daily reading with God – I read this!

Sisters, there is so much work to do. We see need, pain and injustice all around us and our knees quickly buckle under the weight. We long to make our lists and check them twice and fix it all right this second. But we dare not make a move without God. As Ian Hamilton said it, “Beloved, our great and pressing need today is to give ourselves to waiting upon God, because waiting time is never wasted time.”
Nehemiah was an ordinary servant who would do extraordinary things, but he did them by moving with God. Not running ahead but walking beside.
God can use us today. He can use even us. He can do it because it is not about our resources, our resumé or our strength, but it is all about His power, His goodness, His grace.
It is all about Him.”

So I guess it’s time to wait – Nehemiah did!