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Free like a squirrel – Guest Post by Gaby Doherty

September 25, 2015

Grey Squirrel

This morning I had the old song Be Bold Be Strong going through my head. I duly included it into family worship time, where we force and cajole and sometimes threaten our children to engage with God every morning (it’s not always that bad!).
The verse goes, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, no longer to be subject to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) we went on into breakfast with several interruptions for “poo poo” from my potty training daughter.
The day continues, I lose one child at school but find him, I take an hour to drive a 35 minute journey and ignore a friends advice to avoid a certain road to my detriment. Finally I am blessed to be on a retreat day at a local Catholic Retreat Centre (kairos centre, Roehampton, awesome place especially the food).
I have a serious thing to think through about whether to continue to lead a certain course that has been beset by small issues and frustrations. Is it time to persevere or am I pushing a closed door?
When I arrive, there are two foxes playing in the garden. They leave when they see me. I then see a squirrel playing too. For some reason it really annoys me. Why should all these creatures get to play when I have to work?
But you’re not working, you’re on retreat, the still small voice reminds me. But still, the beautiful sunshine is too strong, too hot and it’s in my eyes! This is late September says the still small voice again you are blessed.
I wander inside to find a comfy seat and find a Catholic newspaper reminding me how we are ignoring the refugees and building walls against them. I feel guilty and sad and hand it back to God. Actually, I am not ignoring the refugee crisis, I am trying my hardest to spend less so that at the end of every month we can give out surplus to refugees. But the squirrel still irks me….
What if I truly am free? What if God doesn’t want me to feel guilty about refugees that I am already trying to help? What if I could be as free as that squirrel if I let God free me from guilt and shame? What if I stop feeling that I am not doing enough for others? What if I let God be God of my life and enjoy being a child, playing in the garden of a Heavenly Father who loves her? What if I stop forcing and pushing my kids to enjoy God and just enjoyed him?!? 
I think it’s time to let it go!
Gaby Doherty, wife of 1, Mum of 4, Daughter of one Heavenly Father.
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