All posts tagged faith

Foreign exchange

Published May 13, 2013 by Amazing Grace

Love marriage and a baby carriage….

Yep it’s that time in a woman’s life when societal and behavioural factors/pressures meet – and the clock is ticking loudly.

All around me people are saying:

I need to settle down

I need to get married

I need to have babies

Not that I don’t want these things – just have not found the right person yet or perhaps the right person has not found me

But somehow it is more that than – I have not allowed my parents to pick the right person for me

I live in the UK and my parents travelled to this country almost 40 years ago to study. Somehow although their original intentions were to obtain their relevant qualifications and then return home – they stayed and raised a family, bought a home and pretty much settled here. However it seems their hearts are still at home. When it comes to choice of marital partners for their children the options are clear – it will be a person from their town and their background. On one level this makes perfect sense, family traditions and ties will be maintained and peace and harmony will reign supreme. On the other hand it does not take into account our personal choices and the fact that we are UK born and bred and have not been subject to the influences – language and culture of our parents country. This has to be an important factor when choosing a life partner. In a way what I am describing is my parents wish for a quasi-arranged marriage – in that the pool of partners is from a very small carefully chosen population. In a way I guess that is not a bad thing – sometimes too much choice is confusing but a choice it is.

I constantly wonder why I offer such resistance? I wonder if it is because I am now in my mid 30’s and although not the most mature and experienced person in the world when it comes to relationships, I still feel like I should make my own decisions when it comes to this. However I am constantly being told that I do not know what is best for me and any partner that I may chose will not be sanctioned by my parents. This puts me in a very difficult position. I sometimes feel like that I am resigned to being single /stateless for the rest of my life.

I sit in wonder at a male friend of mine – who although is from a different race and country is also UK born but has succumbed to his parents wish to meet a woman from a family and background of their choosing. He too is the same age as me but somehow has acquiesced and has started long-distance correspondence with a suitable person. Who knows where it might end but they have met and seem to like each other and I wish him all the best. I wonder why I cannot do the same – travel to my parents hometown and just pick a suitable person. It might be OK, I might learn the language, I would get used to the customs , surely it cannot be that bad ? I cannot after all escape my heritage.


Am I too stubborn? Am I too narrow minded? Am I looking a gift horse in the mouth?

Time and biology are not on my side.

But I also do not want to be hasty about things.

I want to make my parents happy but I also want to be happy myself.

I have dated people from my own background but it has just not worked out – fizzled into nothing. I am never really sure if it is me or them. One person told third party that I was too independent. I am not sure what make of that. Another person was repeatedly referring back to his previous girlfriend, why I do not know but it made conversation uninteresting after a while. And the last person that I dated who ticked all the right boxes – job, religion, background – just did not seem right. To this day I could not tell you want it was – but just a low level of discomfort and unease that I felt whenever we went out. I think it might have been the one sided conversations that we would have about faith and religion. I think I understood his take on life and faith but I always got the feeling that he never really got my side of things. He was always dismissive of my thoughts and opinions. I am not sure whether that is because they were irrelevant thoughts and opinions – he had a way of making me feel that way or whether he was just arrogant. All I know is that after a while I started to doubt myself every time I was out with him or on the phone to him. It did not make me feel too good. At the same time he seemed to be offering marriage and a comfortable life but somehow, somehow I could not take him up on his offer. For me it would require me not being myself but not in a way that would lead to self-improvement. Maybe I was wrong? He did suggest we write a book together which would have been interesting as we have very similar jobs and career aspirations. Maybe I missed a good opportunity? I often wonder. Now I hear he is married, travelled to his home country (he was not born in the UK) and found a suitable partner. I suspect his was the wise one. When we were going out he told me that he was aiming to get married before his was 40 (he was 39 at the time). He had a goal and he has now achieved it. He is now settled and probably his house is filled with the patter of tiny feet. Is it easier for men to do these things – just find somebody and settle down. Am I just too fussy? Am I forgetting biology and time? Am I passing up good things?

Days pass an I see my friends and colleagues posting pictures of their domestic bliss up on Facebook – another child, another anniversary, another birthday. I feel like I have not moved on – I am in the slow lane and they are in the fast lane moving on with their lives.

My mother keeps asking me to go to Church. But for now my Church going days are over. Realised after five years that I was not going to met my future husband there. Although every body around me was getting married and starting families – I seemed to be pretty much invisible to the God-fearing men of my Church. Now my faith is eeked out in a very different way – mostly involving lots of prayer and trying to understand and forgive people, trying to be nice to people, trying to be as gracious as God is to me.


I keep thinking that God has not answered my prayers for a husband and a family life and for a long time I was very angry, very angry. Not quite shaking my fist at the sky but something close to it. But after a while I decided that I would have to concede that this must either be God’s plan, or I should be patient or I should take matters into my own hands. These options so far have melded into one. I made a decision but very soon came to learn that things were not always in my control and that I would still have to be patient. So even in my current circumstances I am still waiting on God to direct me- although sometimes I suspect I do not listen. God is meant to be like a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12) but sometimes I fear I am not still enough to listen. I get distracted by all the other voices around me. I get distracted by own thoughts and my views.

Perhaps it is time to listen and focus. Perhaps I should stop worrying about time and biology, after all my worry has not achieved anything – I am still unmarried, I still do not have a husband.

Maybe that will be my challenge for this week – I am not sure how I am going to achieve it but I will listen out for God.



Whom then shall I fear…?

Published April 19, 2013 by Amazing Grace

Cannot understand why am awake at four in the morning trembling with fear.

Cannot understand why my heart is trying to burst out of chest at the same time that the elephants are crowding in to take their place.

Cannot understand it at all.

Fear is a strange thing – of the known and the unknown.

It almost feels like a threat but the danger is a vague and nebulous affair at best and clear and present at worst

As a Christian I think I am not meant to be fearful…

But there seems so much to be fearful of before I’ve even opened my eyes.

Perhaps I should mediate on these verses.

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 118:6
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Psalm 115:11
You who fear him, trust in the LORD– he is their help and shield.

Psalm 103:17
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children–

Psalm 112:1
Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

1 Chronicles 28:20
David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.

Psalm 56:3-4
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:13
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Isaiah 54:4
“Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

Matthew 10:28
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell

Romans 8:15
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “”Abba,” Father.”

1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

Hebrews 13:5-6
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

1 Peter 3:13-14
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.