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Viewpoint from Mary Ives 26/04/2013

Previously Area Director, YMCA Norfolk


I wonder if you ever read the Bible.  A few years ago I bought The Message which is a paraphrased version of the Bible written in modern terms. No, I don’t want to throw away my beloved and trusted older versions, but just sometimes reading this gives me a new perspective and fresh insight. One of my mother’s favourite Psalms was Psalm 139 – a Psalm I too have come to love. The beginning of the Psalm says “God investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight.”  What an amazing thought – God loves me so much he is there beside me, caring for me in all I do

 As I often do, I have recentdove leftly been reflecting on my life – specifically around this past year.  A year ago (at the end of March) I retired from full time paid employment.  Having worked or studied since leaving school, having only twice had a few weeks of maternity leave, I have had little time to know what being at home feels like. For me, the first few weeks seemed really strange – almost like being rudderless!  I had little energy and seemed to do nothing but sleep when I sat down. Gradually however I have really started to enjoy the freedom which has been given to me. Looking after me was always really low on my list of priorities as my roles as a wife, mother, teacher, etc. have been given higher priority. Given time to find myself has been wonderful.  For example, I have had time to exercise regularly – the benefits of which have made me feel so much fitter and more energetic. I realised I am enjoying this new phase of my life


How easy is it to go along in the same groove, barely coming up for air – a bit like a hamster on a wheel! Taking opportunities in our busy lives to reflect can be rare.  We are not just physical bodies; we have spiritual and emotional needs too, quite often overlooked by ourselves and those around us. We chase from one thing to another, not stopping to think. For me, it has taken the life changing decision to stop work which became the catalyst for effective change to take place. This is certainly not always possible for all. Sometimes all it takes are small adjustments towards living a life which is fulfilled!

However I look at it, this year has been great. Reflecting again on the Psalm I started this with, I believe I have had a loving God beside me, a God who understands me even when I don’t understand myself! Maybe today would be a good time for you to take time out to reflect on your own life and to see God’s presence beside day by day