Temp at 8 am was 0C! (32F) Oh no. Harbinger of things to come. It is beautiful, but the apparent price to pay for a clear blue sky in t...
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Another sunny day here. Walking along Seal Beach, I suddenly noticed a dad and his 2 year old boy. The dad was staggering along under the we...
Dusty and I diverted from our usual walk this morning. Having followed her nose to the ‘haunted house’, she then lost interest and wanted...
Just back from my morning walk with Dusty. Same route most mornings. Down the path to the ‘fort’, though in the morning I am less incline...
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Our plans this morning include a visit to a location which is for me, a thin place. I understand a thin place to be a geographical spot whe...
"...stood in tears amid the alien corn... " Love that line. Homesick Ruth, stood in tears amid the alien corn. Keats. Ode to a Ni...
A small posy of sweet peas perfumes the air beside me. There is something near divine about the fragrance of sweet peas, and roses. A...
Peace. Shalom. Something we all seek but which remains increasingly elusive to many of us. I feel my stomach has been in the middle of a w...
Monday, 31 August 2015
Anxiety over Monday’s demands gripped Don and he couldn’t sleep. Tossing and turning, his movements disturbed my sleep and soon we both lay side by side thinking of today’s schedules.
He turned on the radio as a distraction, muttering he hoped it wasn’t the farming programme. But it’s the farming programme which most effectively puts us both back to sleep, so I didn’t mind. Two minutes into whatever it was, the power cut it off.
The next half hour was disturbed with Don trying to isolate the problem, which fortunately wasn’t a total power cut to the whole house. Instead, at first we thought it was an overloaded socket which tripped the switch, but couldn’t find one. There must be a hidden danger behind the walls somewhere which caused the safety switch to cut the power and until the expert arrives, it will remain dead at those outlets.
Good analogy for our plans for Monday, I remarked. Hidden dangers. Overloaded expectations. This tripped switch tripped something in our common sense and caused us to rethink plans.
For I know the plans I have for you, God says in Jeremiah. Plans for good, not to harm you but to prosper you. Sometimes God speaks through physical circumstances.
God is the expert in our lives.
I think we heard him this morning at 5 am.
Thursday, 27 August 2015
I’ve been reading the story of Noah this morning, thinking of the fear and apprehension the family must have felt as the great ark rose and rocked on the waters and was thrown around in the waves and wind. All stability had disappeared and they had nothing left to cling to – except the Rock of Ages.
The last few months have been similar in some ways. Change of circumstances and emotional traumas of bereavement coupled with the pain of shingles threw my dear mother into waters over her head and she grabbed out like a drowning person, desperate to regain stability and familiarity. Those closest to her in the water at the time, Mhairi and I, were the ones she reached out to and nearly submerged us in the roiling waters.
The last thing I would ever have tried to learn how to do was life-saving in the swimming pool. It has always been much more likely that I would be the one needing the saving, and the thought of some desperate and frightened person using my head as a foothold to safety, thereby submerging me, is enough to fill me with dread and panic. And yet here I was, with Mhairi, the two people closest to Mom and so the natural ‘rocks’ for her to grab on to. In her panic, that desperation came out in angry disbelief that we could be so treacherous as to remove her from her familiar surroundings and then abandon her in a new place full of strangers. There were times when Mhairi and I felt we could go under ourselves. When the fleeting temptation came that maybe we should just run away. Give up. Abandon the whole situation.
But underneath were the everlasting arms. Jesus’ promise is never to leave nor forsake us and boy have I found that to be true over these turbulent months. He has been the rock on which we have stood and now, as the storm abates and the waters grow calm, he is the one in whom we rejoice. He has brought us safely through. He has filled my heart with songs of deliverance and he has once again proven himself faithful, loving and true.
Thankful seems inadequate – deeply deeply grateful for his navigation and life jackets. I am so grateful that though our lives often feel like they are a great sea of unknowing, we are never really adrift or alone. Jesus is always there.
Wednesday, 26 August 2015
As the meeting ended last night, one elder offered to walk another one home. Two elders asked another for a lift.
We were built to accompany each other. To keep one another safe. To help carry one another when the journey is hard or long.
I love the story of the disciples trudging in dejection towards Emmaus on the first Easter day. Some of their friends were claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead, but they knew what crucifixion was and knew that there was no way he could be alive again. A mysterious stranger joined them and they had a deep discussion as they carried on to their destination, finally inviting the stranger in to stay with them. It was as he broke the bread and thanked God for the food that Jesus was recognised. Jesus was alive. He had overturned the ‘no way’ and made a way. Jesus had walked with them on the lonely, hard road, sharing truths and challenging their ideas. They hadn’t recognised him.
My mother walked with me through all my growing up years – actually, she’s walked with me metaphorically all my life. What a privilege it is now to walk the hard road with her as she trudges through her 90’s. What a blessing Skype and the internet are for easing communication and enabling stewardship of her resources even from a distance.
During these last few difficult months of transition I’ve been very aware of the presence of Jesus, whispering encouragement and bringing peace and giving guidance. I wouldn’t say I’ve been very creative or profound but I have felt the comfort and love of our Saviour and known that he is on the lonely road with Mom and me.
I’ve also been privileged to be aware of the physical presence and willing spirits of a few special people gathered round Mom and me on that road – Mhairi, Shirley, Mark and Son. A little further out and there are others, willing to help in a practical way where they can. Sandi, Jeb, Anne, others. And on the phone, sending cards, gifts and prayers are Don, Jamie & Chrisie, Robbie & Emma, Doug & Joey (and even wee Flick). All trudging the path with us.
Beyond that, I’ve been overwhelmed by the spiritual support of a cohort of Christian family from round the world holding Mom in prayer as she has adjusted to new circumstances. God is so good. There is nothing more precious than the family of God walking each other home, home to where there are no more tears, no more sorrow, no more separations, no more pain.
No airports in heaven. It’s gonna be great.
Meanwhile, that lonely path is more crowded with loving people than you might imagine. Look around and count your blessings. And see where you can join someone on their lonely path today. That’s what I’m going to do. On Food Bank duty today.
Saturday, 22 August 2015
The word is resonating with me just now, and it feels like a divine resonance. My prayers are characterised by powerful petitions for breakthroughs on all sorts of levels: healing, provision, spiritual awakening, peace, circumstances, etc, etc.
God speaks to us in so many ways and I believe Scripture where it says that the Lord gives us the desires of our hearts. He delights to give us what he first drops into our hearts. Discerning which desires are from him is key to praying in power for these things to be released.
I sure don’t always get it right. But we walk with baby steps until we can run with confidence. So today I step out, knowing that this is a powerful word when applied to God’s heart’s desire for people. I am excited and expectant and can’t wait to see all the ways in which he moves TODAY.
As they say in Scripture, ‘Yippee!’
Thursday, 20 August 2015
Last summer, while awaiting the birth of my first grandchild, I spent an hour every afternoon sitting in the conservatory (better light) working on a cross-stitch for this child. As I worked, I listened. I listened in the silence to what God wanted to say about this baby. I wrote down the words or phrases that came to mind and after Felicity was born, I sewed her name and birth date on it and printed out the words God had given me, and gave it to her.
She will be a year old in another month, and this afternoon I looked at the copy I kept of God’s words about this amazing wee miracle. I was astonished at how accurate they are. Why was I astonished? God knew this life before he created her in the womb, and he has loved her forever.
I don’t believe that Felicity is any better a person because I joined in with God’s thinking about her. But it thrills me to know that he shared his secrets with me before she was even born. And that encourages my faith to keep on listening, keep on believing, keep on asking, keep on expecting.
God is our loving Father who delights to work with us in this world. He invites us to partner with him but so often we lack the faith and courage to believe that what we feel in our hearts or think in our minds can actually be given to us from our heavenly Father.
I’m excited again by the possibilities of partnering with our divine King to bring his Kingdom here to earth. And rather than rushing off to do even more great stuff, I hope I’ve got the message: it’s more effective to sit down and listen and agree with His plans.