Val, who has lived all her life in Middlesbrough, shares her story and what she is discovering through Stepping Up.

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Val's Story

My name is Val Oliver and I have lived all my life in Middlesbrough. I worked for 23 years as a machinist in a clothing factory and when it closed down I moved on to a car company producing parts for Nissan and Ford. After the death of my husband Tony I decided to retire. I have two dogs Gizmo and Olga and I spend a lot of time walking them on the beach or in the woods, which we love.

l attend the Church of the Ascension, Berwick Hills, where I have made many friends I go to prayer meetings were we can all get together to pray and discuss topics. I enjoy helping with church fetes and I was part of the Feast of Fun team, providing holiday activities and food for local children and families in the school holidays.

I decided to join the Mustard Seed programme to meet with other people who like me want to learn more about my faith. I have learnt that it's not just about praying but also about listening to God, listening to others and sharing our faith. I hope that as I progress I will understand more of what God wants me to do and be able to share faith with others.

Living on your own isn’t easy in lockdown, but when I go for walks with the dogs, I am becoming more aware of God with me.

Can you hear me?

I woke up this morning, I'm feeling blue,
we're still in lock down with nothing to do,
so I just pray to you to get us all through.
Did you hear me?

It's mid-day and I'm sat at home,
no friends or family, no-one to phone,
I feel so alone,
so I pray to you.
Can you hear me?

I drove to the beach, the dogs came too,
and as we walked the sand I prayed again to you.
Did you hear me?

I looked up to the clouds; I'm looking for you,
Lord give me a sign, anything will do,
as I walk along with a heavy heart,
my two little dogs look up with a start.

A seagull is screeching above my head
and settled on a rock just up ahead,
I open my eyes and look all around,
at the beauty surrounding me and the wonderful sounds,
the birds of the air flying around,
and the tiny pink crabs that I have just found,
the crashing of waves, the wind all around,
the sight before me is beauty unbound.

My searching for you I've already found,
in the beauty of your creation, I see all around.

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Find out more about Mustard Seed on our website, www.dioceseofyork.org.uk/SteppingUp

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