Linda’s My Story

WITNESS TALK – CURSILLO – ULTREYA AT RINGMER – SATURDAY 4TH MARCH 2017.

My life has been and continues to be like a circus! I feel a bit caged in here behind this large eagle but I will rise and soar. Happens to be my Psalm 63! Amazing things can happen – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17) Born 10 June 1950 – 1 of 4 siblings – early years – prefab outskirts of Reigate Surrey. Ann, myself and David were born within 3 years and Julie came along 6 1/2 years later so I became a proper little second mother to her.

I can remember always being at my Mother’s side “…me do it, me do it” Have I changed? I attended Sunday school and later Covenanters at the local Free Church. During the summer – Church Days were held in Reigate Priory Park. Although I knew Jesus was important in my life I was still of an age not to really understand why. We moved to a council house before I went to Woodhatch secondary school, was a member of the local Guides and later became Lieutenant (Lefty). Quite a hard family life – Mum worked very hard, parents divorced – war – alcohol – death.

I joined St Luke’s the local CofE church in Reigate and started to help with Sunday school. Was confirmed at 14 with Mum and my sister Ann.  And so began the ups and downs, the snakes and ladders, a step or two forward but be careful of that large snake. My pilgrimage with the Lord seemed to have started in my adult life. I Left school at 15 with no qualifications – attended Redhill Technical College for 2 years – Secretarial – Pitman’s shorthand and RSA typing – as well as other studies – achieved better results than at school. Started work at Legal and General Kingswood where I stayed for 8 years – Typing Pool of 60 girls – chosen to go on a ‘finishing weekend’ at Christchurch, Bournemouth – became a Manager’s secretary.

I Met Malcolm at 17 – Ann was going out with Terry who was in a pop group – was taken to meet him – didn’t think much of him – but then I was a bit young and naive! Yes we started ‘courting’ and I became a ‘groupie and roadie’. The group did well – won a competition in Crawley and were offered ‘the world’ – they didn’t take up the offer but the story goes on… Malcolm was a member of his church in Old Coulsdon where he had been a choir boy and server. We were engaged when I was 19 and married at 21 in 1971 at St Luke’s. My Dad gave me away – he was always invited to family celebrations – as we came out of the church the Guides had made a guard of honour for us. We had a write up in the local paper “Reception at Park Lane”, actually it was Park Lane East, Reigate… in our council house! – But the food was good. We managed to save and bought our first house in Lingfield – no honeymoon – lost our £5 deposit!

So married life began. In 1975 our first child Robert was born, in 1977 Helen came along – met up through church with a few other Christian families. Moved to Burstow, Near Horley – our third child Ruth was born in 1984. So a complete family and part of a larger church family – involved with Young mums – off-shoot of the Mother’s Union – Sunday school for 30 years – help in community – playgroup – school – all with input into our life in the church. So my circus life carried on, juggling and the ups and downs but the pilgrimage was getting easier.

BUT life in the Pudney household was busy – We had trips to Romania helping with Rainbow Aid – Children were married – and then was Malcolm called to Ministry. 2001- Malcolm was Ordained and although we stayed in the family home he was Curate of one of the churches in our Windmill Group.

2006- Woodhams x 2 churches

2010 -Petworth x 3 churches

2014 – Retirement to Worthing

Along the way 5 grandchildren appeared, Abby, Layla, Albert, Stanley and Leonard – now aged 11 down to 6 years old. Emmie, mum in law, 95 – A member of Burstow church choir, still living in her bungalow but getting frailer. And so MY Story continues – Mystery – my story. Message – ready to listen. Mind – guided, rather than my own way. A Labyrinth of wonder.

And so to St. Synphorium’s – Helen and Family – Got involved (as you do) – Difficult time with decisions – Ann, my sister and her husband Terry had made their Cursillo pilgrimage in Canterbury quite a few years ago and really encouraged me to taste and see – and of course at St Synphorium’s there was a strong band of Cursillistas and so, to an Ultreya I went.  Was this for me, would it help me now in my life – Ann and I had nursed our Mum for 10 months in and out of hospital and she died six months after we moved to Worthing – 2014 – could I cope with this weekend. Mystery – is this what I need – to understand more deeply. Message – are you ready to listen! Mind – am I ready to be guided! A Labrynth of wonder!?

AND SO – Chichester Cursillo #26 here I come – A Walk in Faith – The still quiet voice whispering – Come. Lots of friendships – hugs, prayers, rainbows, butterflies, (rainbows and butterflies have always been favourites with Ann and myself). So I ate as much as I could for the first few days, this of course was Spiritual nourishment, although the food at Wychcroft was really good and I ate my fill of that too! And so quietness – THE CROSS – the labyrinth of candles – I can remember saying why am I at the foot of the cross and Mum is at the top – but I realised then and how privileged I felt as I knelt there – awesome quietness – the stillness – the quiet voice – “Linda it’s ok, All will be well” – life is not easy – not direct – my journey is my lifetime. And so to Wake up! And I certainly did. Ann and Terry had come to Wychcroft and we danced round the table to Amazing Grace! So like the Hungry Caterpillar – feeling full – ON THE FOURTH DAY – NEW LIFE – ME, Dare I say, a Beautiful Butterfly!  WOW – What a Weekend!

And then there is change – Moving on – Malcolm,  St  Matthews – Lord you know the  way – a change  of direction but always towards the cross – the labyrinth – sharp corners – work at it – Be still – Malcolm and I are together again walking with the Lord – still being used in the same way but now something new… The quiet voice – Hospital Chaplaincy – another privilege – another way of sharing, sharing a smile, holding a hand, together in Jesus’ love. WOW – A garden sign of mine – “Plant Smiles, Grow Giggles, Harvest Love”. So many many precious people, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ who have helped me on my incredible journey…. and now in Cuckfield Crescent lovely Christian neighbours and a New Mum who lives at the bottom of the garden (Her friend lived in our bungalow). So the loving, caring and praying goes on. Last July Ann and I went to Aylesford Priory for a few days with other Cursillistas and the Canterbury people laid on a lovely evening for us.  There was entertainment and Ann and I had decided that day to do something we had done as youngsters.  “There’s a hole in my bucket” – and that’s life isn’t it – a little bit of mending with the Lord gives us a pure and whole heart.

We shall go out with hope of resurrection

We shall go out, from strength to strength go on

We shall go out and tell our stories boldly

Tales of a love that will not let us go.

We’ll sing our songs of wrongs that can be righted

We’ll dream our dream of hurts that can be healed

We’ll weave a cloth of all the world united

Within the vision of a Christ who sets us free.

We’ll give a voice to those who have not spoken

We’ll find the words for those whose lips are sealed

We’ll make the tunes for those who sing no longer

Expressive love alive in every heart.

We’ll share our joy with those who are still weeping

Raise hymns of strength for hearts that break in grief

We’ll leap and dance the resurrection story

Including all in circles of our love.

June Boyce-Tillman ©1993 Stainer & Bell Ltd (UK) Hope Publishing Company

Life is like a circus – I’ve done the juggling, had the ups and downs and am now managing to balance my life in the way that the Lord wants me to and all we need for that is… A GOOD FOUNDATION – BUILD OUR LIVES ON ‘THE ROCK’.