Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Fear And Faith And The Atheist Prayer Experiment

I wasn't initially going to watch the 2nd part of Derren Brown's Fear And Faith series, because, I suppose, I didn't want to watch an atheist explain God away as a 'placebo'.  But curiosity got the better of me and I have now watched it.  It was in no way as offencive as I had feared it might be, in fact it was very interesting and proved again that Derren is a master manipulator of suggestion to the human mind.

The atheist he 'converted' wasn't looking for anything missing in her life, and all she described was an overwhelming emotion of love, this had been brought about, as Derren explained afterwards, by his tapping at certain points in the conversation to make a connection of all the correct emotions at the end when he left her and made his final tap.

Correctly he assimilated some faith conversions to an overwhelming emotion and hyped up activity, such as were seen in the Billy Graham meetings a few decades ago.

I was listening to the Unbelievable pod cast recently, they were reviewing their Atheist Prayer Experiment in which they had asked Atheists to pray daily for God to reveal himself to them and to report back anything which they had considered a sign or a reveal from God.

A couple of ladies had described their experience of a Rainbow they had seen during the experiment. This didn't lead them on to become full blown Christian believers in God, but they thought it was a sign to them during the time of the experiment.

The point is everyone's experience is unique to them, whether it is attributed to God or suggestion from a person or group, it is unique to you.  What we as individuals have to decide is, what we are going to do as a follow on from that experience.

On the Derren Brown programme, the atheist said she 'wished she could have known about that love sooner, why couldn't she always have felt like that?' although the trigger to that overwhelming emotion was planted by Derren, if she does want to investigate finding that feeling again further and chooses to go down the God route to do it, she may well find God for real; or she may choose to look for it elsewhere in relationships or material things.

With the atheists in the Unbelievable experiment, they are left mulling over what they understood to be a sign as a result of their prayers to ask God to reveal himself.  They can either just put it down to a phenomenon that they don't quite understand and forget about it and move on, or perhaps they can continue with their prayers for God's revelation and take their quest to find him a step further.

Derren concluded his programme with the thought "if you believe in god, it's probably because it makes you feel happy."

I think any Christian will tell you it is so much more than happiness that our belief brings us, it is forgiveness, it is eternal existence with God in Heaven, it is peace.......

Have you had an overwhelming 'Religious' experience? Or encountered God in an unexpected circumstance?

Monday, 19 November 2012

What Decade Are Asda Living In?!

So the Christmas ad's have started and apparently we won't actually be able to have a Christmas without John Lewis, Iceland and according to Asda, Mum's! 

We saw this ad last night and my husband was shocked, no, appalled, no, offended, no, outraged, oh you get the idea!

The fact is, many of our past Christmas' have been produced entirely by him, not because he's some sort of secret elf, but because basically, sometimes, I just can't be arsed; but Christmas has to happen when you've got kids, so happen it does, but never ever solely with me in control of it! 

And we are certain in this day and age, when among many of our friends it is the blokes who do most of the cooking, men have been spotted on school runs, they organise party's etc.....we don't think it's just us who think this ad is patronisingly sexist!

Newsflash Asda, it's not the 1950's anymore! Men and Women are capable of holding down full time jobs and running a household jointly.

Who 'does' Christmas in your house?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

What If I Can't Be A Mum Anymore?

I started writing this blog because I was searching for answers, not just Biblical answers but personal, real life answers, which I found in some of the blogs I now follow.  I got my head together a little and wondered if I could do the same; write a little about some of my experiences for some other soul out there googling the web for answers!

What I am about to confess may shock or offend some people, but if you are someone who feels the way I did a couple of years ago it may help you, and that is all that I pray for.

I was following a thread on twitter recently, where some chaps had been comparing getting up early with their young families since the clocks had changed and a young lady had chimed in to 'spare a thought for those who don't have families'.  Whilst I thought this was a far point (and so did the blokes) I tweeted something thoughtless back, about how I was sure the blokes knew they were blessed and to basically 'lighten up' (I didn't exactly say that, but that was the gist) and one of the blokes and the lady basically got offended by my butting in and passing comment on her lonely situation, I apologised and I hope all was left well.

The truth is, what I actually wanted to tweet couldn't be said in 140 characters, hence this blog post, which I have mulled over and am still not sure about. 

You see as much as I feel for (as I'm sure we all do) childless people for whatever reason they are in that boat, there was a point when I wanted sympathy as a parent.

Every person out there with kids, who knows someone who hasn't yet been able to have kids, has probably expressed their disappointment for them - and that is right; I cannot imagine how it must feel if the most natural progression in life is not possible for you. 

But what about those of us who have had kids? No-one would ever say to us, "it's just awful for you. Don't you regret having them? I'm so sorry you've found yourself in this situation of having a family."  Of course they wouldn't and 99% of the time if anyone did express that to a parent they would quite rightly get an earful - if not a face full, of fist!

But my confession is, a couple of years ago I found being a parent almost unbearable; it was nothing to do with my kids; they are wonderful children who have not given me any more grief than any other average family.  It was my depression.

My state of mind was telling me I was failing as a mother, that I couldn't look after them, I couldn't handle the responsibility, which overwhelmed me with guilt for having them in the first place, but how can you tell someone you wished you weren't a parent?  

Of course I know the situation is different, I was ill and my mind wasn't in it's right frame (it very rarely is!) but nevertheless, as much as a childless person longs for a child, I longed to be free of that responsibility. I feared they would 'inherit' my anxieties, I feared constantly I was letting them down, but worst of all they were controlling me. I wanted to leave this world but I couldn't, because my fears of them growing up, screwed up, because I had chosen to leave them, was also too much to bear, they had a hold on me, how dare they!

Can you imagine the backlash if you tweeted 'spare a thought for those of us that have kids :(' and not in a light-hearted sarcastic way, but in a, I mean this, I want out, way?

My very close friend and my husband and others were able to tell me I was a fantastic Mother, that the kids needed me and loved me and I was important to them, but I liken it to the countless people who must tell an anorexic person that they look beautiful - when they look in the mirror that is not what they see.

The sad thing is for me, when I am on form and feeling good, I know I am a damn good Mum, my teenage sons friends think I'm a legend for goodness sake, I'm fun-mum!

I guess I just want to put out there that sometimes parents who have been blessed with the most wonderful kids can end up in a dark place where they wonder the unthinkable, what it might have been like to have been blessed with being childless. 

Going back to the 'tweet', the sum up is probably, rather than asking others to kindly please consider your situation and how awful it is for you, consider yourself that it actually might be a situation they are yearning for. Accept your lot, learn to live with it, fight through it, get counsel over it, whatever it takes to get you to accept that it is yours.

I am pleased to say I am in a much better place now than I was a couple of years ago.  Of course in reality I would never change anything about my children, like I said, it was an illness taking hold, but I did have to fight through it and get help to accept that I could cope with being a parent, but if any parent out there is feeling like they just can't do it anymore, you are not alone and if you find the courage in you to tell someone, no matter how wrong that may seem, you can get through it.  

I found when I was able to tell someone just how scared I felt and how I couldn't do it anymore that was one of the first moves to helping me feel better. 

Psalm 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


I'm taking part in National Novel Writing Month! 

First time I've done it and I only became aware of it last November  but basically you get down 50,000 words during the month of November and hey presto you're a novelist!

Whenever I've tried to write a book before it's always ended up too biographical even if it's intended to be fiction, and I abandon through fear!

So I approached NaNoWriMo from a different angle and made sure it wasn't the story of me!

I had become stumped with my main character who is a man of mystery, but this morning I had  a breakthrough - actually thanks to something that came up in homegroup last night, so now I know exactly how the next bit is going to go!

It's been quite exciting actually and it's all for a bit of fun, not to become the next JK Rowling, but just to get a good chunk of work down that who knows one day might be interesting for someone else to read!

Any other bloggers out there taking part?