Your ways

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8; NLT).

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand (Philippians 4:7; NLT).

For you, a thousand years as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours (Psalm 90:4; NLT).

God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us (1 John 4:13; NLT).

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever (Psalm 73:26; NLT).



Your ways
Are far beyond
My understanding;

Your peace
Is far beyond
What I can share.

Your light
Is far beyond
My human vision;

Your fire
Is far beyond
What I can bear.

Your thoughts
Are far beyond
My comprehension;

Your years
Are far beyond
What I can chart.

Your love
Is far beyond
My weak discernment;

Yet your Spirit
Dwells forever
In my heart.

My Father

You are my son. Today I have become your Father (Psalm 2:7; NLT).

I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:18; NLT).

This is my dearly loved Son (Mark 9:7; NLT).



You are my Father,
And I am your much-loved child.

Out of our stillness

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him (Psalm 37:7; NIV).

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer (Luke 5:16; NLT).

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light (Isaiah 9:2; NLT).


Out of our stillness
Comes movement.

Out of our silence
Comes truth.

Out of our wasteland
Comes wisdom.

Out of our darkness
Comes light.

We share your light

We now have this light shining in our hearts (2 Corinthians 4:7; NLT).

My beloved is mine and I am his (Song of Songs 2:16; NIV).

We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; NLT).

I will give them one heart (Jeremiah 32:39; NLT).

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).


Lord God,
We share your light,
Your truth,
Your peace.

Lord God,
We share your faith,
Your hope,
Your love.

Lord God,
We share your mind,
Your heart,
Your soul.

Agoraphobia diary: 4pm on day 8

A warm hello to every reader. This blog is the last of my seven-day agoraphobia challenge, so I want to finish by reflecting on what I have learned.

Firstly, most people are very kind. Many were ready to exchange a smile, make contact, chat, or point the way, something for which I am profoundly grateful.

Secondly, the effort of repeatedly facing individual fears during a long period away from home is very draining. I was amazed by how my mind would simply shut down after significant experiences, though it was oddly comforting to reach a point where I didn’t have enough energy even to be afraid.

Thirdly, there is absolutely no substitute for honesty. For example, texting my son in advance, to tell him how anxious I was about sitting in the back of his car between two child seats enabled me to sleep, instead of worrying obsessively all night. It also made it much easier to speak openly of my fears next day, and, in the end, to cope well with the journey as planned, in both directions.

Lastly, I realised more intensely than ever before, the power of really attentive listening. The manager of my mother’s care home listened without interrupting, understood, and believed me when I talked about my childhood. She didn’t try to interpret it, or to talk about her own experiences or opinions. Our whole conversation only lasted about ten minutes, yet the effect was cathartic, shocking and profound.

All in all, it’s been a hard, tiring, productive and helpful week. Here then, for those who value such things, is the last prayer of the trip, though my usual daily blog will continue tomorrow, for anyone who wishes to stay in touch. I’m also planning a series of personal pieces on the experience and consequences of child emotional abuse, a subject which is still so often overlooked.

Thank you to all who have followed my experiences over the last week, to those who have sent “likes”, comments, texts, and emails. Special thanks to the lovely friend who looked up my trains and followed the journey in real time, so that if I got stuck or distressed, I could ring her for advice, and she would know where I was. Thanks also to the two branches of my family who housed and fed me so well, and to my dear husband, who had a very dull week at home alone with a sprained ankle and two unsettled cats, somewhat put out by my disappearance!

Thank you for my agoraphobia

Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).

Here on Earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33, NLT).

In all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 9:28; NIV).



Although this may sound puzzling and perverse,
I want to thank you
For my lifelong agoraphobia –

For all the years of tense anticipation,
The yearning for avoidance,
And the overwhelming need to get away;

For the physical and mental shock of panic,
The sense of failure, helplessness,
And shame;

For the endless, sad concealment, lies, excuses,
From all of which
I have so much to learn;

For the task of facing fear and dread repeatedly;
The triumph of success
In something new;

For the long, slow process of emotional healing,
As I learn to face and manage
All my fears.


Agoraphobia diary: 6am on day 8

Hello everyone. I finally completed yesterday’s marathon challenge with my scheduled evening hospital treatment. Now I’m awake, and preparing to get up before too long. At 9.15  a taxi will pick me up and take me to Liverpool Airport, ready to fly home. The week has seemed to last an age and has tested me pretty thoroughly, but I’ve survived, and learned a lot. Above all, I’ve realised that speaking straightforwardly and honestly about my fears makes them much easier to manage than struggling to conceal them, for fear of being judged.

I’m deeply tired, but plan to end the week’s agoraphobia challenge with a final diary entry  this evening. Then I’ll go back to blogging once each day, as usual. Meanwhile, here is today’s morning prayer:

In honesty

Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).



In honesty
With self,
And you,
And others,

Lies freedom,
And inner peace.

Agoraphobia diary: 3pm on day 7

Greetings to you all. Well, I’ve done it! Today’s challenge was to travel by train from Loughborough to Warrington, changing at Nottingham, so I’m here in my hotel room now, absolutely drained. At each stage of my journey, just when I was getting anxious about what to do next, there was always a kind person ready to help. Outside Loughborough station, a very nice taxi driver I chatted to for a moment offered me a bottle of water, and we shared a hug. On the platform, the guard was happy to chat, which passed the anxious time until my train arrived, and so on.

Changing at Nottingham was very stressful. My train was already at the platform, but I needed the loos before boarding. They were on another platform, and I felt very rushed. It all worked out in the end, though, and passengers help each other quite a lot.

I had been thinking a good deal about the very long tunnels I knew we would pass through in Derbyshire, but managed surprisingly well. The lit train, the people chatting around me, and the large size of the compartment meant it was considerably less claustrophobic than I expected. My last train journey with major tunnels, taken about 45 years ago, was a traumatic nightmare I prefer to forget. Ever since that day, I’ve had occasional nightmares about being on trains in narrow, dark, never-ending tunnels. It’s only now that I’m beginning to realise just how damaging that journey was, because of my terribly anxious state of mind.

By the time I got to Warrington, I was spent, rather like yesterday afternoon – no thoughts, no fears, no ambitions, just a blank mind, accompanied by a familiar sensation, as if the ground was heaving up and down beneath my feet, like being in a boat. I was so tired that I wandered away from the station in the wrong direction, dimly looking for a taxi rank. To my surprise and sadness, the first person I asked for directions didn’t even register my greeting. Then I met a woman who, though clearly startled to be asked, pointed me in the right direction.

It’s a huge relief to be in my own quiet, dark room now, resting in bed and having lots of hot drinks. So here is today’s prayer, which I wrote during this morning’s contemplation:

Your peace


When I reach the station,
May I go in with you.

While I wait for my train,
May your arms encircle me.

As I board it,
May I hold your hand.

When the doors close,
May I know your presence.

As my journey starts,
May we pray together.

When I change trains,
May I share your calm.

During long tunnels,
May I feel your comfort.

When I arrive,
May I thank you deeply.

And, as I go on my way,
May I know your perfect peace.