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Monday, 15 January 2018

Disappeared



Disappeared. I’ve been changing the web host for my website, and it has been more complicated than I can say: it’s so complicated, I keep deferring to my IT-savvy son, Doug, whose infinite patience and kindness with my ineptness is much appreciated.

For the last few days, www.micheledmorrison.com has failed to come up on the search engine, nor have I been able to access it any other way until just now, when I googled the name I gave it several years ago: ‘Tears amid the alien corn.’ I’ve not been trying to be arrogant that I know one of Keats’ poems, but the line was often a mantra to me in the early years of my transplantation from California to Scotland, when I frequently shed tears of homesickness, feeling I didn’t belong (and I was freezing...)

Today I might take a more existential view of those lines, feeling that as a Christian in today’s society, I am often lost in fields of alien corn. The landscape is no longer Christian. I shed not so many tears these days, but have a deep yearning for our ultimate home, where Jesus will be our ever present companion.

His promise in Revelation, though, is that when we hear his knock at our heart’s door, and invite him in, he comes in and shares a meal with us. And we need never feel estranged from our ultimate home, even while in this world, since Jesus is just waiting to be invited in so that he can sit down and eat with us, sharing time, sharing love, sharing life that stretches to eternity.

We never disappeared from his search engine.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Flexibility



We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. 

Flexibility is a blessing. To retain physical flexibility requires effort and time; as I struggle on with tendinitis in my shoulder, I am always aware of my limitations and eager for the day when I am healed and can stretch up and back without wincing. 

As physical flexibility lessens, flexibility with my time increases. I make my plans, but hold them lightly as a message or a phone call can draw me off in a new direction.  

As long as the Lord walks with me, I am fine with that. I never was one for too much routine.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Breathe steam



A background ringing. A heaviness, as if a sock were stuffed inside my ear. I am not deaf, but I am relying on lip-reading to clarify what I think I hear. 

This is how I come to God. I want to hear his voice clearly, but there is a background ringing, an earworm reminding me of concerns, chores, people-to-call or e-mail. Distracting me from the focus I long to have. 

I want to hear his voice clearly, but there is something dulling the acuity of my hearing. Cultural baggage. Political correctness. Societal assumptions. 

I’ve been given some decongestant and told to breathe steam. I need to decongest my spiritual ears, and spend time in the steam-room of prayer and the sauna of the Bible.

I know that will do the trick. All I need is to prioritise the time...

Friday, 5 January 2018

The Lion Sleeps Tonight



Still trying out the new boots in the house, so I headed out for a short walk in my old wellies, unaware of just how icy it was underfoot. My ability to focus in on God and a meditative, prayerful walk was undermined by the necessity of paying attention to every step I took. I have two good friends who have broken wrists or hands when a confident step forward was sabotaged by an icy patch.

Every day I step out into my life, wanting to maintain a conversational relationship with the Lord. Every day I encounter icy patches which distract me and draw my attention to them, cautious lest I slip and fall. May I have confidence today  in the Lord’s ability to hold me fast through all potential hazards, so that I can maintain a lively relationship with him. I’m still thinking about how peacefully the lion slept beside me in that dream the other night, confident that all was well.

In him (Jesus, not the lion!), all is well.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Stepping out



First purchase of the year: new hiking shoes. A new year signalling a new season in our lives, and plans to step out on our own two (four) pegs further afield than we have ventured thus far. 

The shop assistant advised me on style, size, and socks, and allowed me a few days trial period to check they are right for me. She suggested I wear them for a couple of hours ironing: had she seen the pile accumulating as family came and went? Today I wore them as I remade beds and hoovered, and my confidence is growing that these are indeed right for me.

I’m thinking of the Minnie Hoskins’ poem, giving advice that at the start of the year, it’s good to plant your hand in the hand of Jesus so that whichever paths you traverse, you will not come a cropper on scree or find yourself scaling a mountain beyond your ability. 

As we look at the calendar and plot our course, I’m also aware of Solomon’s statement that humans may plan their course, but the Lord directs their steps. That’s ok with me.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Appeasing the Lion



Imagery of the wild and untamed world yet again. Too much cheese? Or is God speaking? I know what I think: see what you think.

So last night I had a powerful dream which I actually remembered when I awoke. I was back home in Long Beach, on Josie Avenue, in the bedroom I grew up in at the house my Mom sold a couple of years ago now. I was in ‘my’ bedroom lying down in a double bed. I was sharing the bed with a lion, a male lion with the full mane. While I regarded him with apprehension, he slept peacefully. 

Somehow I knew that Mom was in the house somewhere, and that there were an additional two lions in the house too - lionesses. I wasn’t terrified; I didn’t run away or rush to warn Mom or try to kill the lion(s), but with a measure of anxiety in my heart I headed to the fridge to find something to feed the lion when he awoke. I had a very real fear that otherwise I would be his next meal. 

I retrieved what I thought was a chunk of cheese from the pretty empty fridge, only to discover it was butter. Somehow I thought that he might have been satisfied with a chunk of cheese, but that butter just would not do the trick.

Just back from a walk where I examined the dream with God, sure there are depths in there that need plumbing. For now, what I understand is that although I am in ‘bed’ with God, I’m not trusting that he is happy just to have me near. I feel I need to placate him somehow, to bring him offerings from my ‘store cupboard’, and without such gifts of appeasement I just might come a cropper and be devoured by him. 

Considering my previous two blogs about the real wild enemy who does seek to devour us, I know in my heart that my loving heavenly Father does not want to devour me but keep me safe. I need that knowledge to penetrate to my very being so that my thoughts and actions reflect that truth.

It occurs to me that it’s incredible that He has enough confidence in me to ‘sleep’, trusting that I will not betray him, and yet I often lie awake at night trying to work out ways of ‘fixing’ things in my life so that I and my family will conform to his expectations – or hopes – for us...not trusting him to fix things as only he can do.

Come to me, he invites us, everyone who is weary and bearing a heavy burden, and I will give you rest, give you peace, give you a break. My prayer for myself, and for us all, is that I will deepen my trust in Him so that I can lie down and sleep in peace, knowing that He is near, protecting, guarding, and loving me – not for how well I’m ‘fixing’ things but for trusting him to fix them.