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Monday, 29 February 2016


Too many balls in the air. 

Monday morning, following a restless night filled with thoughts of a myriad of responsibilities of things needing done this week. Some of the things are absolutes. Tax forms. Financial planning for my mother. (AARGH to both of those!) Meetings, appointments, a writing assignment. Babysitting!

Entwined within those I choose to do some things that revive my spirit and give me life. Spending time with God. Top of the list – not because it’s a duty but because it keeps things in perspective and reminds me of who I am in Christ. Meeting a friend to swim – not my favourite sport, I have to admit, but good to keep moving and also to engage with friends. 

My life often looks like tangled trunks – today it feels like tangled trunks. Important to take time to prune so that the things I do receive the attention and nurture they need to grow straight and strong. I think I need to retreat and rest, prune and be revived.

I was never much good at juggling.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Hanging out in the Son

The sunnier the day, the dirtier the windows look. 

Of course they are dirty on the dark days, too, but the dirt isn’t so noticeable. 

The more I hang out with Jesus, the more obvious the dirt in me is. But equally, the more I hang out with him, the more I allow him to wash it away and fill me with his Holy Spirit. I’m getting cleaned up, one spot at a time.

There is nothing quite like a day in the Son.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Don't worry

Jesus advised us not to worry about what we wear, which is good advice when the cold north wind is biting and the only way to keep warm is to keep piling on the layers. 

And anyway, with a smile like this, who needs to be a fashion-plate? Note to self: even when the five layers I’m wearing make me look like the Michelin man, it’s the smile that captures folks’ attention – isn’t it? (Or is it just that a one-year-old can get away with most things?)

And now back to some serious playing.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Deaf, or just hearing differently?

I watched a young mum interacting with her deaf child recently. The child wore a hearing aid, but that wasn’t what I noticed. I noticed the mum’s hands discreetly signing the conversation. The girl often responded without looking at her mother’s hands, but not always. There were some things she apparently only heard by watching the sign language.

We all hear God in different ways. Most of us hear him in a variety of ways. We hear his voice through our friends, be they believers or not, and also through strangers. We hear him speak to us through media channels, through nature, and through circumstances. We hear him as we read the Bible attentively and prayerfully. 

We also hear him as we sit with others in silence asking him to speak to us. I recently had the privilege of sitting with three others, two of them teenagers, in prayerful silence. We’d asked God to enlighten us on a couple of things. Within a couple of minutes everyone had received a prayer picture and though they seemed different, together they made sense and gave an answer.

I think of Elijah and the priests of Baal. The pagan priests entreated their god to send fire onto their altar. They danced wildly and cut themselves and did everything they could think of for a long time but still there was no response. When it was Elijah’s turn in this rather weird contest, he soaked his altar first and then just asked God to send down fire onto the altar. Instant answer. Impressive.

Ours is an impressive God who longs to communicate with us and go deeper in relationship. All we need is a bit of time, an open heart, a willing spirit, and faith to believe that what we hear or see is really from the Almighty Creator God. 

That's an advantage of corporate prayer, as God amazes us by giving each person a bit of the jigsaw which makes sense when seen as a whole.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Vivid Dream

I boarded the aircraft and was directed to a sort of jump seat in the cockpit. The pilot was there pushing buttons and things. I was really excited, though I also had a vague sadness tugging at my emotions, a sadness about leaving and going away.

I was just settling down when something made me realise that I had no passport. I engaged in a frantic search but to no avail. The pilot looked sympathetic but said it was just five minutes to take off. I rushed off the plane thinking I would get a quick passport picture taken and then realised that of course I needed all the accreditation that goes along with a normal passport. 

Mixed with the sense of disappointment (think I was on my way to Paris) was relief that I was not leaving loved ones behind. I woke up to ponder the meaning of this dream.

This morning I read Galatians 4:6. ‘You are adopted by God. God sent the spirit of adoption into your hearts, so that you would call out loudly, “Dad, Father!” 

I don’t need a passport to enter the Kingdom of God. Or rather, I do, but he is the Holy Spirit who lives in me. A sort of biometric passport to attest to my credentials.

I don’t have to disembark after all.

Friday, 19 February 2016


The sun blazed out of a bright blue sky. I say blazed but actually there wasn’t a huge amount of heat in it ... but it was glorious nonetheless. Felicity and I headed for the park and joined the other preschoolers and grandparents on the seesaw and the swings. As we headed home, the path parallels the River Don and the detritus and mess left by recent flooding is strewn randomly around.

Through the mess, though, the snowdrops have emerged and now bob their delicate heads in the light breeze. The snowdrops don’t have strong stems nor helmeted heads; they are fragile and demure. Yet drawn by the season and the sun, they are up. 

If they had appeared too soon, the raging floodwaters would have destroyed the wee plants. But now, after the storm, they have appeared in all their glory.

As I pushed this precious baby through the spectacular scenery, I was well and truly in the moment. It doesn't get better than this...