Yes, I know it is an odd name but there is a reason for it. Back in 1991, I was at a training weekend in a church at Spennymoor County Durham. One of the things we did to practice listening to God was journaling. The person who had come to lead the session, Jim Stevens, prayed and gave us a few words to get us started and we then wrote down whatever came into our heads. After my daughter, I would say unto you I wrote down the words you are my Lily. Interesting idea as my real name is Susan and Susan means lily. Until then I had never even thought about the possibility of being God’s Lily.
Who is this God’s Lily woman?
You already know that my real name is Susan and that I spent some time in County Durham. I did actually go to school in Chester In my teens lived in a house where you could cross the road and then walk across 3 fields and after that, you would be in Wales.
I went to Durham as a young student and came back down in January 2015 closer to retirement age than I would like to admit. I wanted to be near my family but still somewhere new and different. So settling on the other side of the border made sense.
When I moved I had done my homework and knew that Bethania in Leeswood was going to be my new church home. It was just a case of finding a house to live in that was somewhere between my family and the church. I am happy at Bethania it is just a case that my teacher’s heart is not satisfied. There are just not enough people to make the sort of learning group I have in mind viable.
What happened while I was in up north?
Looking back it should have been obvious I had made a mistake within a month of getting married. He had hit a wall on the way home from seeing me and this left him scared to drink and drive. Well, every time he saw me he had to drive so it was not until after we were married and I could drive his car that I realised how much he used alcohol as a coping mechanism.
He managed to hide obsessive compulsive disorder from me for a few years but then it exploded onto the scene causing great problems for me. That was not the only issue but it is the only other one that there is documentary proof for.
Things went from bad to worse until one day I screamed at God that I was stuck and needed to get unstuck so that I could serve Him better. Shortly after that he listened to his friends, probably even his girlfriend, and started the divorce process. It was hard to believe at first as he had first mentioned the idea 20 years earlier. The way things worked out I knew at the time that as much as I did not want to be divorced God did want that for me. It is only as I have looked back that I can see that God was right.
I had started going to a Baptist church after going to a Mission England gathering at Roker Park in Sunderland. Years before the girls at the school Christian Union had told me what a good speaker Billy Graham was. The strange thing is they were also responsible for making sure I had a copy of Scripture Union Bible reading notes that included a sinner’s prayer. Years later when I asked God when did I become a Christian I was reminded of that prayer. However by the time that Mission England came around I had drifted away from the church.
I was always hungry wanting more so when I started hearing things about a nearby Pentecostal church I started doing some things with them and after much deliberation joined them permanently or so I thought at the time. I learnt a lot there. Some of which I have distilled into the worship tools website. It was not a permanent move in the end as it became obvious that the pastoral team were totally clueless when it came to helping people with challenging mental health issues.
Looking back they had a desperate need of training in that area. Just how do you deal with life disrupting irrational fears without making the situation worse? Especially when fears like that can lead to aggressive behaviour and even violence on occasions. The advice I was given by the church was not just unhelpful in the long run it proved to be very destructive. I learnt the hard way the importance of helping the weak by strengthening them rather than weakening them further.