I have been a Christian for nearly 40 years and have served in various churches and Merseyside Christian Youth Camps for nearly 30 of those years.
Over the years, I have struggled with confidence.
Always seeking my confidence in others has been a problem and it has held me back.
Comparing myself with others has caused a lot of damage.
I worked for Court Service for 25 years, until I had to leave in 2015 after having a nervous breakdown.
I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and I have been under the Doctor for about 10 years.
Attending Churches and focusing on serving the Lord has helped me take my mind off me and onto Him.
One of the things a counsellor said to me in 2015 was to get into nature, as it would be good for my mental health.
I bought myself a camera with my redundancy payment and, ever since, have loved going to parks and to coastal places like Crosby in Liverpool and New Brighton, to take photos and get fresh air and spend time praying in nature.
A worship song by Casting Crowns has the following lyrics in the chorus :
And I’ll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
That you are who you are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this storm
I have been in another storm since February 2019 when my Mum died suddenly, at the age of 82, when an operation she was having went gravely wrong.
It hit me so hard.
I was looking after my Dad and trying to keep it together after the initial shock. I tried to do everything in my own strength.
After 4 weeks I was chatting to someone at Church and I started shaking and weeping uncontrollably and I was physically sick. I had dealt with everything in my own strength but, in that moment, it ran out.
I realised I needed to fix my eyes upon Jesus, as the old hymn said.
Worshipping with my church family really helped me to get through the storm.
For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
These verses have helped me focus from an eternal perspective.
When I’m walking in the Lord’s creation, I’m reminded of His goodness. He is the Lord who marked us by His grace.
There are days when I forget to praise Him in the storm, but I hope that I will continue to look up and praise Him in all circumstances.