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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Beales

Look Up and Be Amazed!

Hello – let me introduce myself. I’m Jen. I’m 40 years old - although I could have sworn that I’ve only lived long enough to be 30. I have four kids, 3 boys and a girl, the eldest of whom recently became a teenager (!) and a husband called Joel. You may have met us at the ACW meetings – we’re the ones who play instruments and sing into microphones.

This is my first ever attempt at a blog post, so please be gentle with me! I’m someone who often feels I have ‘something to say.’ Yes, too often I expect. It’s just that, as a dyslexic I don’t trust myself to say anything in writing. Even as I write this, I feel deep down that on finishing there will be some big red marks circling grammar and spelling errors… and a ‘try harder’ message at the bottom. Thank goodness for computer spell check.

It’s all part of the journey.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in Jesus. Having grown up in a Christian family with parents who genuinely lived their faith, I was left in no doubt that Jesus was real. He was as much part of the family as the rest of us.

Yet, life has been quite a journey so far. High-highs and low-lows.

I guess in reality, everyone’s life is ‘quite a journey’. Mine is certainly no more dramatic than average. I have no major tragedy to report. I never walked away from God or did anything I massively regret. I have a stable marriage and a lovely family.

But life is not necessarily defined by such things, is it? So much of the heartache in life comes from the little things. Missed expectations, unfulfilling relationships, small stresses that build to great burdens. That’s not to say that the big things we go through aren’t hugely important, but my personal experience is more of the little things dragging me down. A cumulation of small hills to climb rather than a few big mountains.

Forgive me if I sound negative, but the children and I have had a rough week this week. Nothing dramatic. My back has been in pain for a while now, the car has failed its MOT and is unavailable to us, and, well… winter – need I say more? With the lock down making life feel less varied than ever, the health and car issues have left us feeling very limited indeed, and a kind of low-level moany, complain-y attitude has taken over the home. Mostly starting with me. My first words this morning were, I’m ashamed to admit, negative. And those were just my first words.

I have the huge privilege of home educating my children*, so this morning when it came to Bible Time we abandoned Gideon and the book of Judges, which I deemed too depressing (Oh – the Israelites abandoned God again did they… what a bunch of plonkers… and God did what to sort them out??) and instead found a passage in Philippians, and discussed thankfulness. I have no idea whether it helped the kids or not, but I have to say that a quiet moment of stopping, remembering what I have, looking inside to find the face of Christ – (He’s IN me – isn’t that amazing?) and thanking Him with genuine sincerity, almost brought me to tears. For about ½ a second. Then my youngest climbed onto my lap and demanded that I give her food.

Even so, He was there. When I felt so far away, He was right there. It was my attitudes and negativity keeping me from experiencing his presence. And one moment of thankfulness was all it took to catch a glimpse of Him again. That’s amazing to me. One moment.

So, I’m trying to look up. Trying to be a bit less moany. Trying to remember that He’s close. So much hinges on where my focus is. And maybe I should go back to Gideon and be more amazed by God’s ongoing grace and love towards a people so easily distracted, led astray… and who moaned a lot. Perhaps it’s a less depressing story than I thought!


*To answer a few of the more common questions…Yes, it’s legal. No, we don’t have to follow the national curriculum. I think they are well socialised – you’d be best off talking to them to find out. And no, I don’t think everyone else is wrong in their choices or judge them for not doing what I do. Hope that helps!!




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