Posts Tagged ‘Bellshill’

It’s funny isn’t it, how quickly things can change – one minute things are going well, then the next you hit an all time low…it’s rotten isn’t it?

Well in the last few days I’ve felt just like that, as this last weekend I was away with Bellshill Salvation Army Band at Guisborough where we lead the praise and worship meetings at the Salvation Army there on Saturday night and then Sunday morning and afternoon. What a fantastic weekend that was with the band playing brilliantly; the spiritual challenges given by both the music and those who lead the various devotional periods both before the meetings and during them.

Life-Mental-HealthBy the end of the weekend though on Sunday night, things were beginning to turn for me as, as I had expected my pain levels were starting to go through the roof with my pain killers not making any difference to my pain at all, plus extreme fatigue was taking over again.

Then today, Monday, it was a struggle to get out of bed as between pain and extreme fatigue it took a great effort. Thankfully I had planned today would be a day of nothingness as I anticipated I would be feeling like this after a long busy couple of days. If only it had continued as a day of nothingness…

First of all, just after lunchtime, my husband got a phone call from one the guys from work that he’s good friends with, to tell us that one of the other guys at work that they are friends with had been found dead in his home this morning. We were both shocked and stunned by this news as it had come completely out of the blue…

Not long after we’d received that first bit of bad news, we received a second bit of bad news…my Aunt Mabel, my Dad’s sister had died yesterday. She, like my Dad had dementia and, just like Dad had, had a fall, and had never really recovered from it.

What a rotten year this has been, that’s now 3 of my close family members, my Dad, then Aunt Mae, and now Aunt Mabel died, plus one of my husband’s cousin’s also died at the start of the year. How quickly the great highs of a fabulous challenging weekend and be put to one side when death strikes.

If you are a praying person, can I make two request of you please: firstly that you pray for the family and friends of my work colleague who has passed away suddenly; and secondly, can you pray for my family as this is our third family bereavement this year, and my Mum in particular is taking this hard.

Thank you.

After a fantastic inspirational weekend at the Salvation Army UK Territory’s congress in Glasgow, what else could I blog about tonight!

I watched the Saturday night and Sunday morning meetings from the comfort of my house via the live webcast, but I have to say I still felt as thought I was part of the meetings even though I wasn’t actually there in person. So well done to all involved in broadcasting the webcast.

On Sunday afternoon our band, Bellshill Salvation Army Band were playing from 2.30 – 3pm on stage in the Clyde Auditorium, so I was there for that and then stayed for the BugleTweetafternoon meeting.

The afternoon meeting was a whole new experience for me, as I wasn’t just there to listen, I was also there to Tweet! Martin Cordner, a Salvation Army Officer & brass band composer, created BugleTweet, on Twitter and Facebook, to post updates from SA band and other concerts from around the world. So it was a privilege to be asked by Martin to Tweet for BugleTweet. I just hope that I was able to give those following the tweets, a good feel for what was happening in the Sunday afternoon meeting, even though I lost signal for about 20 minutes at one point!

Back to the meetings themselves..All those who took part in the main meetings of the weekend as well as pre meetings in the foyer and main auditorium were great – the staff songsters, staff band, various corps bands and songsters, youth band and youth chorus, puppets and kids club – all were fantastic and I know blessed many through their message.

And then there was our leaders for the weekend, Commissioners Clive and Marianne Adams, what an inspiration! The recurring message throughout the weekend was transformation, challenging us to transform our world, our nation, our communities and ourselves! Quite a task, but as they said, if we let God start the transformation from within us, anything is possible! Thank you Commissioners Clive and Marianne you inspired so many of us to get out there and start the transformation.

Commissioners Clive and Marianne Adams

The congress is now over, so let’s make sure we keep the momentum going by getting this transformation going – Are you up for the challenge? I am!

junior_soldiers_promiseI’ve spent a lot of time in these last few weeks and months thinking about my Dad and my Aunt Mae, both of whom passed away earlier this year. One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot in relation to both of them is promises – Promises made by both of them either publicly or privately.

Dad of course promised to always look after me and care for me particularly as I was growing up, however latterly our roles were reversed, as it was Dad who needed to be looked after.

As for Aunt Mae, it’s the public promise she made many years ago, to serve God for all her life, that I’m thinking about. In the last few years of Aunt Mae’s life, her illness meant she was unable to attend the Salvation Army meetings anymore, however whenever we visited her, she always talked about the Army…albeit the Army she was talking about and asking about, was the Army of a few decades ago rather than our 21st century Army.

As far as Dad’s promise to look after me is concerned, he certainly did that, and, as far as I’m concerned, did that very well. And Aunt Mae’s always did her best to serve God all her life, particularly in her younger, more active days when she held various local officer positions at our home corps of Rutherglen Salvation Army.

I just hope that as I live my life, the promises I’ve made already, and any I make in the future, that I can be as successful in keeping my promises as both Dad and Aunt Mae have done. I believe I will only be able to succeed with this, if I keep the promise I made when firstly when I was 7 and then again when I was 18 years old, the promise Aunt Mae also made…to serve God all my days.

Maybe that is why in these last few weeks, as our band (Bellshill Salvation Army Band) has played the piece Guardian of My Soul, I’ve been so emotional – the second song featured in this piece is O Jesus I Have Promised to the tune of Aurelia:

O Jesus I have promised
To serve thee to the end,
Be thou for ever near me,
My Master and my friend.
I shall not fear the battle
If thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway,
If thou wilt be my guide.
 
O let me feel thee near me;
The world is ever near;
I see the lights that dazzle,
The tempting sounds I hear.
My foes are ever near me,
Around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw thou nearer
And shield my soul from sin.
 
O let me hear thee speaking
In accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion,
The murmurs of self-will.
O speak to reassure me,
To chasten or control;
O speak to make me listen,
Thou guardian of my soul.
 
O Jesus thou hast promised
To all who follow thee,
That where thou art in Glory,
There shall thy servant be;
And, Jesus, I have promised
To serve thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow,
My Master and my friend.
John Ernest Bode

 

As you may be aware, over the last few months, I’ve published a number of blog posts entitled “Managing Grief” and in them have given a number of practical suggestion on things which may help you following a bereavement. What you may not however be aware of, is that just over a week before I posted my first “Managing Grief” blog post, my Dad had just passed away, and that just 6 weeks after Dad’s passing, my aunt (my Mum’s one remaining sister) also passed away. I have therefore felt that shared my very real experiences of managing grief, may in some small way help someone else cope with their grief a little bit better.

Last week I was out for dinner with my Mum and, as is often the case, the conversation got onto Dad and Aunt Mae, and about how difficult Mum was finding it to cope on a daily basis. At one point Mum said to me, “You seem to be dealing with it ok”, and I just responded by saying that I had my moments!

cryingMoments! A little bit of an understatement by me, as while I may look as if I’m coping well with Dad and Aunt Mae’s dead, inwardly I’m a bit of a wreck! I’ve been putting on a “brave face” with Mum ever since we were originally told they could do no more for Dad, as I knew she needed me to be strong for her. That hasn’t meant I’m strong all the time, as I definitely have my moments, normally when in the privacy of my own home…

However I certainly wasn’t in any kind of private place yesterday when thinking of Dad and Aunt Mae, my emotions got the better of me. I was in fact sitting in the middle of our band (Bellshill Salvation Army Band), in the middle of our morning service, when events and the music conspired to get the better of me!

Before I’d left the house to go the morning service I’d been reading this week’s Salvationist (a SA weekly publication), and had discovered the tribute (including photo) of my Aunt Mae was in this week’s edition…well that got me emotional before I even left the house!

During our service we sang Lord I Come To You (The Power of Your Love), which has been a very special song to me for a number of years. As I tried to sing, I just thought about those I’d lost, and so I could sing no more because of my tears…My worst nightmare had happened, falling apart in public!

It didn’t get any better as the band piece was In The Love Of Jesus, which always reminds me of my Aunt Mae (and my Gran), so again I found my tears started…I think I only managed to play the first few bars of the music before I had to stop again.

Everyone who loses a loved one has particular things which remind them most about them. You may have guessed by now, that for me, that thing is music! As a family, music has always been a huge pat of our lives and thus so much music reminds me of those I’ve lost. I also find playing in the band very difficult too (not because I don’t want to play), as I play trombone…so did Dad, and he was always the one I turned to for advice on alternative slide positions etc. I remember from a very young age, climbing up on the huge piano stool beside my Dad, to “help” him with his music compositions; I also remember as a young junior soldier, in the days when I sang solos, gathering round the piano at Gran and Aunt Mae’s to be taught my latest solo.

So why am I telling you all this? It was the 21st of February Dad died and the 3rd April my Aunt Mae passed away, i.e. a few months ago, but I still miss them loads, particularly my Dad…and that ok! God knows we’re hurting, and knows it will take us time to grieve. Likewise our friends and other family members also don’t expect us to get over the loss of a loved one in week or two. Therefore, don’t be afraid to admit to yourself and to others that you are still finding it difficult coping with the death of your loved one, months or even years later!

Finally I’d just like to say a huge thanks to those at Bellshill Salvation Army who have been particularly supportive in these last few weeks and months (you know who you are), I have appreciated your support more than you can imagine, thank you.

The title of this blog post is the motto of the Salvation Army band I play in, Bellshill Salvation Army band.

Pro Causa Optima means For the Right Reason.

It’s funny how some things work, as in the last few weeks, I’ve had conversations with a number of people, in various situations and circumstances, where we ended up discussing the decisions and actions taken by other individuals, and whether in fact they were being taken for the right reasons, or simply to try to enhance their own reputation.

This in turn has got me thinking about me, and got me asking myself not for the first time, “Do I blog to get recognition for myself or to spread God‘s message?” and “Do I look after the band’s website for my own glory, or to promote the band, or to promote God’s message through the band and the website?“.

Some tough questions which, if I’m honest, I haven’t always done either of those things for the right reason. However, I do pray regularly that whatever and wherever God needs me, I will do it for His honour and glory, and not for my own selfish reasons.

How about you, is there anything in your life that you may not be doing for the right reason? If there is, take it to God, He can help you refocus your efforts on Him.

As the title of this post suggests, it’s been another difficult few days for me.

It all started on Thursday with my Mum going into hospital for an exploratory procedure. But I’m pleased to say, all turned out to be fine, with no problems found.

Then on Thursday night I went to my first band practice for a while, at Bellshill Salvation Army. I was quite stressed about going back to the band, not because I thought the folks there wouldn’t welcome me back or be supportive, but simply because I am still struggling emotionally following the death of my Dad and my Aunt Mae earlier this year.

Dad at our weddingMusic has always been a huge part of my life, with music always been played in the house from as early as I can remember. Dad was always composing and arranging music (or “decomposing” music as he used to say!), and sitting at the piano trying out various bits and pieces of his compositions. I remember even when I was very young, I always climbed up onto my Dad’s knee at the piano to “help” him. So much so that when I was 6 I started piano lessons, despite the piano teacher not normally taking pupils until they were at least 7, but as I was extra keen an exception was made.

Then a few years later I was given a trombone by our YP band leader (at Rutherglen Salvation Army), and after being shown how to hold it and blow into and the 7 slide positions, I was off and running with my trombone. Needless to say I had a lot of questions, and Dad was there to help from that day on until his dementia meant he was unable to, as he was a trombone player of well renown in the jazz and big band scene in the west of Scotland.

So taking all that into account, band practices, and trombone playing as such a huge reminder of me of my Dad, as he was always there to help when I was looking to some alternative slide positions for some bit of music, or helping choosing a new mouthpiece etc…

I coped not to badly at the band practice until we went to practice Guardian of My Soul, and the words of the last section of this were read out…

O Jesus I have promised
To serve thee to the end…

Aunt MaeThese words, although not necessarily favourite words of my Aunt Mae, they were words which reminded me so much of her, as she was a lifelong Salvationist, and even in her final days when her dementia meant she wasn’t the person we knew and loved, she still always talked about the Army and how she’d held various positions for many years – even the nurses and carers at her nursing home talked about how she was always telling them about the Salvation Army!. She truly did serve God, her Saviour, all her days.

So when we started to play that piece of music, my emotions got the better of me and my tears streamed down my face…I was just glad everyone was playing as I really didn’t want anyone to notice how upset I was. Crying in public is one of my worst nightmares, and it was no different that night!

So onto today, Sunday, my first meeting at Bellshill for a while, and again I was stressed, as I knew the band were playing Guardian of My Soul and I knew how that had affected me on Thursday, and there would be even more folk there to witness me getting upset, if it were to happen again…

musicYes, the music got to me again, as Guardian of My Soul got my tears flowing again, however this time I just tried to play through it (not sure how successful that decision was though!).

But even before we got to the band piece, my tears had started, as the YP Band played I’m In His Hands, and the words associated with this song, touched me just as they do every time I hear them, but they were the reminder I needed that whatever the future holds, I am in His hands.

Even one of the congregational songs from this morning got me, as it reminded me of the band’s Easter Tour of 2003, as just after we returned from this tour I took unwell, and although I’m much improved now, my health continues to cause me some problems. Before we left for our tour we joined in singing, Lord If Your Presence , and again this morning as we sang these words in the knowledge that for the next 9 months, Bellshill Salvation Army will be without a home of their own, as we will be worshipping in the Bellshill Cultural Centre while our halls are refurbished and a new worship hall built.

Even as we played the final march in our hall, Celebration, I was reminded of Dad again as I remember asking him about one of the parts in this piece when I was playing a different part than I was today.

Many thanks to all who offered words of support to me both on Thursday night at band practice and also this morning either before or after our morning service, I really have appreciated the love and support shown to me (and my family) during what has been a particularly difficult time for us.

In conclusion, I’d just like to share with you the words of the song I mentioned earlier

I’m in his hands, I’m in His hands;
Whate’er the future holds
I’m in His hands.
The days I cannot see
Have all been planned for me;
His way is best, you see;
I’m in His hands

 

lonelinessHave you ever had a day when you feel lonely?

Have you ever had a day when you feel sad?

Have you ever had a day when all your close friends don’t seem to want to know?

I’m sure we’ve all had days when we could answer YES to all the above questions. But have you stopped to remember that even in days like these, you are not on your own because God is there for you, and He cares for you.

One of my favourite song from our Salvation Army songbook is the song Someone Cares (John Gowans), so please take a few moments to listen to the cornet solo of the same name played here by Yvonne Ferguson (Bellshill) and follow the words:

Do you sometimes feel that no one truly knows you,
And that no one understands or really cares?
Through his people, God himself is close beside you,
And through them he plans to answer all your prayers.
 
Someone cares, someone cares,
Someone knows your deepest need, your burden shares;
Someone cares, someone cares,
God himself will hear the whisper of your prayers.
 
Ours is not a distant God, remote, unfeeling,
Who is careless of our loneliness and pain,
Through the ministry of men he gives his healing,
In their dedicated hands brings hope again.
 
Someone cares, someone cares,
Someone knows your deepest need, your burden shares;
Someone cares, someone cares,
God himself will hear the whisper of your prayers.

Beautiful words, meaningful words, and words I can completely relate to, as I know someone does care about me.

Do you believe someone cares about you?

Hold onto the words of the above song as God does care about you and me.

Jesus knocking on doorWe’ve all heard many times over the years how Mary and Joseph tried to find somewhere to stay in Bethlehem, but were constantly told there was no room.

Is Christ knocking on your door today, asking to be let in?

No matter whether we are worrying about something or someone, sick or ill, or mourning the death of a loved one, God loves us and will always have room for us in His heart. Therefore let’s make room in our hearts and time in our busy days, to let Christ into our heart’s this Christmas.

Who Is He? by Bellshill Band of the Salvation Army:

Who is He in yonder stall,
At whose feet the shepherds fall?
 
‘Tis the Lord! oh wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord! the King of glory!    
At His feet we humbly fall,      
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!
 
Who is He in deep distress,
Fasting in the wilderness?
 
Who is He the people bless
For His words of gentleness?
 
Who is He to whom they bring
All the sick and sorrowing?
 
Who is He that stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
 
Who is He the gathering throng
Greet with loud triumphant song?
 
Lo! at midnight, who is He
Prays in dark Gethsemane?
 
Who is He on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?
 
Who is He who from the grave
Comes to succor, help, and save?
 
Who is He who from His throne
Rules through all the worlds alone?

Ever wondered how your life would have turned out if you’d made a different choice at a particular point in your life?

Is there any point in even considering what your life would have been like if you’d made different choices at some point, because it’s now all in the past and can can therefore not be changed.

Yes, we need to learn from the wrong decisions we’ve made in the past, but don’t dwell on them too much or they will hold us back from achieving what we capable of. We all make wrong choices in our lives, but it’s how we react and cope with those mistakes that shape us into the people we become.

At the end of the day, all we can do is ask God to show us the right path for our lives, and then trust Him to actually go the direction He has chosen for us.

God’s path is always the right path for us, so trust His directions.

Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

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.

Here’s Bellshill Band of the Salvation Army playing The Path of Glory:

How many times have you been walking along a path that seems to be long and winding and not really going in the direction you want, so you take a shortcut to try to get to your destination quicker?

How many times having taken that shortcut do you find you way blocked, so you’ve got to retrace your steps and get back to your original path again?

Sounds a bit like life doesn’t it!

Psalm 23:3 (NIV)

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

God has a path set out for us in life, but sometimes we think we know better than God, and try to take a “shortcut” through life. Have you noticed how things never work out when we do that!

Yet again, God prove to us that He knows best and that His way is definitely better, so don’t try to take a shortcut through life, simply trust God and follow the path He has set out for you….the path to glory!

Here’s Bellshill Band of the Salvation Army playing the fabulous piece of music The Path of Glory: