Relay transition presentation – my year on Relay..

Relay Presentation

I had intended to read this myself, but I have no voice…

This year has been really really tough in many ways. Struggling with the study due to the amount of time it actually took me to do it, finding it really difficult to raise finances – regularly only having £5 or less in my bank account has really helped me to understand how money is a gift from God and how to use it wisely, even though that can be tough. Battling with various health issues, and finally being given a diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder!

This year has been a struggle, and for once not with my Depression, but at times with my Anxiety and OCD really getting in the way of things, as they are expressed in the form of stress, perfection, worry and being particular. It’s been a struggle to learn to lean on God in every way.

You may, or may not have noticed I have certain pencil cases for certain pens, or that even when I feel really ill I feel like I can’t miss a session, or that I have a certain way of doing things and worry about really small and insignificant things, I have some stupid irrational fears and all of that is manifested from my Anxiety and OCD. But I think God is really showing me this year that it’s okay to be me. He created me the way I am and loves me for me.

I’ve slowly been learning that it’s okay for me to take longer to do my work or study if it’s done to the best of my ability. It’s okay for me to have particular pencil cases for particular pencils. It’s okay that I like to do things in a certain way. And It’s okay to just be me.

This year has really helped me build upon my Anxiety and OCD and learn to use them instead of hiding from them. Gods shown that while I may have multiple panic attacks before giving a talk, when I’m giving the talk, presentation, or bible study He will work through me and all I say is from Him. Gods brought through and shown that my passion for helping people can still be used even with these disorders because my illnesses and disorders are not my identity.

Identity has been a huge theme of this year, I’ve been to multiple talks and listened to many podcasts and talks on Identity. And what I’m learning completely and wholeheartedly this year, is that my identity is in Christ Alone. My identity is NOT my multiple health problems or Mental Health issues. And My identity is NOT in my profession or my job, while I can say I’m working towards being a qualified Lawyer, that is not my identity.

My identity is in Christ Alone.

I’ve also been asked many times this year by many different people what am I going to do with my law degree, when am I doing my LPC or the BPTC, even by multiple Christians I’ve been asked this, because the legal profession is ridiculously competitive.
I got into law because I like helping people and making someone else’s day just that little bit better. And now I can say I’m using my degree to go on a study something so Niche you probably didn’t know it was even a sector of law! Canon/ Ecclesiastical Law. God has shown me that I am able to serve Him in the church, working with the church, and for the church, while also pursing career in Law.

My year on Relay has been a mess, through many different reasons, but I’m proud to come out of it closer to God, with some amazing friends and a new family. Looking forward to the future where I can share what I’ve learnt with my future husband and our family, where I can serve in full time ministry still and also continue working towards getting my legal qualifications, and a future where I can love and enjoy spreading the word of God in where ever I end up.

I look forward to seeing where all of you guys end up too, I know He has some awesome plans for each and every one of you and I cannot wait to see them blossom and bloom!

I’m not ready to leave Aber, it’s been four years, its my home, my heart and where my family are.

Aber is where I feel Hiraeth most and will always be where I grew closest to Jesus. (and I also don’t want to go back to England, but you know, I have to!)

Thank you guys, for a wonderful year, I could not have gotten through it without friends and family like you.

I love you!

This week I sold my very first paintings!!

This week I sold my very first paintings.

They’re by no means my best ever work, nor did I sell them for a major profit. But it felt good to be appreciated for my work and know that the time I spent on them wasn’t wasted.

I spent a lot of time over Easter reflecting on what we had learnt over my time on Relay and through that God brought back some inspiration for painting and being more creative.

I really enjoy being creative and painting but studying law didn’t leave much time to be creative and then with all the travelling and busyness of Relay this year I’ve found it hard to relax and take time out to be creative. So to be able to say I sold my first paintings is such a huge step for me and I couldn’t be more grateful to God.

He is the reason we can be creative and He gives us the gifts we have to glorify His name. All my work and ideas come from God and my way of showing this is to have a Bible reference to each and every painting and picture I do or take.

While I may never sell another painting or be asked to do another event to have had the opportunities I have had over this past year because of Relay have been amazing and such a ‘God – Thing!’

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” ~ Philippians 4v13

IT’S FINISHED – RELAY HERE I COME

Finally, I’ve got my degree classification, and I’m proud to say all my hard work paid off and I’ve received a 2:1 in Law with Criminology BA! with only two weeks until graduation, I thought I’d send out my first prayer letter, and do a blog post on whats gone on so far and what the summer has in store!

So far, since my last exam we had our CU leavers party, which was really emotional, such fun but sad to see so many of my dear friends leave! I had a few days camping in Pembrokeshire with most of the people in my year as a final goodbye, or rather a ‘see you later!’, it was lovely weather and a great way to be together for the last time! I went down to Llantwit Major with church for a week of mission, which was full of gardening, painting, work within the church as well as the community! The I wen to visit my best friend for her 21st birthday, we had a picnic and then had a hour or so on a high rope course, which was so much fun, and we finished the evening with pizza and ABBA just dance! Then I went to visit Dan and his family for a week, which was lovely, it was great spending so much time with his mum while he was at work, and on the Wednesday celebrating his 20th with a BBQ. And somehow we managed to go play FootGolf twice that week!

Since them I came back to Aber and started my new job with Wales & West Housing Association as a support worker, which has been amazing so fair! The job came from my placement with them during my final year and I’m so excited to learn more and get further suck in!

Over the past weekend I moved house, which is so lovely! While I miss my lovely big bay window and sea front view, theres just something better living in a house. The fact that it only takes me two minutes to walk to work is just a bonus!

In just over a week I have one of my best friends Wedding! Can quote believe she’s getting married, but its so exciting and her and her partner are just made for each other so it’ll be such a blessing to witness them give their lives to each other and God!
The following week is graduation week, and its so strange to think that we’ve been in Aber three years now! I’m super excited for graduation and terrified at the same time – to means we’re being released into the great wide working world! We have to be adults!

After graduation I have Newday where I’m serving on the Guest Services team full time! I cannot wait, Newday is always a high light of my year, and this year will be no different! After Newday I’ll have a two and bit week break and then its Relay Orientation and Forum National! I have so much to prepare for Relay and Forum, but I’m excited to do it, all the reading and prep is all things I want to do, so it’s actually fun!

As part of Relay I’ll be sending out a monthly prayer letters detailing what has happened in the previous month and what is coming up, how you can support me (either prayerfully or financially) and how the CU is getting on. If you wish to be receiving these please do send me your email!

If anyone has any questions about Relay and what it is, why I’m doing it and if you want to know how you could help and support me please do get in touch! 😀

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.” ~ Colossians 1:3 

Lots of Love,

Cheerfully in Christ

Abii x

Mental health awareness week

Its been mental health awareness week and this week I am beyond drained. Physically, and mentally. It’s been very busy.

So this week I’ve been to a prayer breakfast, spent 18 hours in exams, done a three hour morning shift, spent five hours filming, and been to one surprise birthday bonfire and one bonfire and talk with CU…as well as revising for exams, meeting up with friends for coffees and catch ups, and a phone call with the therapist.

I am kept grounded by my faith. This week has been really really hard. And without God I wouldn’t know how I would have gotten through it.

It was brilliant kicking off the week with a prayer breakfast in spoons! I’m not one for praying out loud and it makes me super uncomfortable when asked to or forced into it. But our prayer sec made it open for everyone. He wants people to be involved and feel comfortable to come no matter how you prefer to pray. He really made it comfortable and fun to be sat in spoons praying and getting ready for the week with a bunch of my closest friends.

After that, I wouldn’t say the week went down hill because it’s been a good week, but mentally I’ve gone down hill. More and more anxious throughout the week. My heart has been racing for longer than it’s not this week. It’s been good fun, packed full of more fun activities than just focusing on exams.

But even when things are fun they can still make a person anxious and worried. Mentally preparing for various activities is very draining. Getting ready to go to the beach with friends involves more than just getting dressed and wondering over. It includes mentally getting yourself ready to walk to the beach across town, not knowing who will be there and forcing yourself to try to not worry about it. It’s getting up hours before the exam just to make sure you’re in the right mental state before it begins. Bracing yourself for being judged for walking round campus on a gym kit wearing a GoPro.

It means getting your mental state ready for whatever the day will bring. It’s really draining and tiring even before leaving the flat in the morning.

Mental health is an issue that deserves more than just one week of awareness. But it’s great to be focusing on it. Understanding it. Talking about it.

Beginning of the end

Today marked the start of exams and the beginning of the end.

Sounds worse than it is!

When I say beginning of the end, I mean it’s the begging naming of the end of my degree!

One exam done and two to go and my undergrad is over..

Thinking back over the last three years and I can’t quite believe just how much has happened and how much I’ve learnt. I’ve made some amazing friends and grown up in every way.

Starting out at Uni three years ago I was excited and terrified. I moved to wales, I was home. So excited. But nothing would prepare me for the lessons I would learn. At times I thought I wouldn’t make it. And at others I didn’t want it to end. I’ve battled with mental and physical health issue. I’ve struggled to understand the law. But somehow I’ve got here. A month to go.

I don’t like change and I struggle to get through it but this is good and exciting change.

Now I’m ready for it to finish and to move on. I’m so unbelievably grateful to God that I get to spend another year in Aber working with the CU and devoting the year to His mission right here. Coming into Uni I didn’t realise there were people would had never heard the Gospel, who didn’t grow up knowing about Jesus. I was naive. I’ve learnt so much about my own faith and how to help and share the Good News to those who don’t know. I’m so excited to start Relay and see what else God has planned!

This last chapter has been a blast, but here’s to the future, new adventures and changes.

I’m Tired..

I don’t remember what it feels like to not be tired.

I don’t remember the last time I woke up and felt revived.

I don’t remember the last time I went to bed and fell asleep straight away.

I don’t remember what it feels like to not feel like this.

 

When I say I’m tired I don’t mean I’m sleepy as such.

I’m worn out.

My brain hurts.

My eyes hurt.

My muscles ache.

My body hurts.

 

I am always tired.

 

Even when I’ve had 8+ hours sleep.

Even when I’ve had a nap.

Even thought I’ve rested.

 

I am always tired.

 

My brain never shuts off.

My brain never stops working.

Its always switched on.

Over working.

Over thinking.

Over planning.

 

My brain over plans everything.

Every single moment.

Every possible outcome.

Every possible issue.

Everything that could go wrong.

 

I’m tired of not being able to sleep.

I’m tired of not being able to eat.

I’m tired of not being able to relax.

 

I’m tired of being tired.

I’m tired of being overly anxious.

I’m tired of overthinking everything.

I’m tired of over planning everything.

 

I’m tired of increased anxiety.

I’m tired of increased panic attacks.

I’m tired of unexplained panic attacks.

I’m tired of middle of the night panic attacks.

I’m tired of being anxious to go to known, comfortable places.

I’m tired of being constantly worried.

 

I’m tired of being tired.

Anxiety sucks.

I’ve really struggled over the past few months with my anxiety. Struggled so much so that it got to the stage where I couldn’t even go to the doctors for any reason. I managed to learn how to disguise/ hide it. To the most part.

But I realised a few weeks ago that if I didn’t get help everything would get a lot worse. So after a few weeks of building up the confidence, I managed to move doctors and ring them up to make an appointment. Immediately the receptionist got me an appointment for later that morning.

I was panicking in the waiting room and was very nervous to meet another new person. The doctor immediately noticed this. He noticed all the anxious mannerisms as well. He asked me all the right questions. Everything from ‘do little things upset you?’ To ‘have you had suicidal thoughts?’ He asked about coping mechanisms and possible triggers. He asked about my support network and if I had people who looked after me. He was so much more caring than any another doctor I’ve seen for my mental health ever. He also asked about any obsessions or compulsions.. and came to the conclusion that my OCD tendencies aren’t tendencies anymore. And that if not dealt with it could become a bigger problem as well, as OCD and Anxiety can and do go hand-in-hand together. We did laugh at some of my compulsions though- the colour coding pens and my switch habits before leaving the house every single time.

We came to the decision that I do need help. Which is hard to deal with and agree to. But we did decide not to try tablets first.

He decided the he wanted me to see an Occupational Therapist for some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. To see if this could help combat and control my anxiety and OCD things. And then hopefully we won’t have to try even more tablets! Hopefully the therapy will help. Hopefully I’ll be able to control it so much so that it wont impact my working life. Hopefully it will help me lead a normal- non-anxious life.

One thing that can really help – which is a bit contradictory with Anxiety, is moving to a new doctors surgery and meeting a new doctor. Because you can start afresh. You can tell them absolutely everything and they won’t judge you. They are able to help you. It feels like they are able to help you a lot more than previously because they don’t know you and are able to start anew.

Whatever it is, it definitely helps. I left that doctors appointment feeling a whole lot better and less anxious than I had in a long time. I left that appointment knowing that I was getting the help I needed and that even though is it all in my head, its not all in my head and that there is something wrong but it can be helped. Can be controlled and maybe even fixed to some extent.