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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Pots of Promise, delivered

Look at these beauties! No longer just a pot full of promise, these bulbs are delivering glorious fragrance and beauty now. After months of apparently slow growth, weeks of watching the buds appear and fill out, today these lilies are trumpeting forth into the sunshine! A gift from dear children for Mother’s Day, every time I look at them I trumpet forth praise to the Lord for the amazing family with which I’ve been blessed. A wonderful family which I don’t deserve. 

Some things take time to incubate, and they seem like they’ll never mature. We wait, and watch, and pray for things like a longed-for baby. And then, suddenly, the day comes and wow! Takes your breath away.

Our God is so good. May you find blessings in the big, and in the insignificant, today. Everything is a gift.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Beautiful Buds

Still thinking about the stunted growth of some beautiful buds. Crying out to God for those whose early experiences came as assaults of harsh winds and driving rain, leaving them bruised and hurting, wounding them deeply. Jesus called his Father the gardener, and Isaiah declares that this gardener won’t break a bruised reed, or indeed a beautiful rosebud. He is a nurturing gardener, a wise gardener, a gardener who (unlike me) knows which food to apply when, which branches to prune, which wee beasties to zap. He is a gardener whose healing touch transforms what is closing in on itself, encouraging it to open up to the sunshine and bloom. To be unique, fragrant and beautiful in a way that nobody else can be. To let go of the hurts and the torments and turn to Him, allowing his healing to flow through the hurt and bring restoration and assurance of his love, his everlasting, unconditional love.

I’m so aware that often God delegates to us, his children, and know that in and of myself I am a hopeless gardener, either outside or in trying to encourage growth and healing in others. So today, as every day, I cry out to Jesus, for a fresh in-filling of Holy Spirit, to guide, inspire and empower. He is my everything.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Blooming Beautiful

I love the roses that grow so well, right outside the windows of the conservatory. I don’t prune them back too far, so that their long stems and blooms rise above the window sill and I can enjoy them from inside.

I love it when I see the buds forming, lots of them in response to a good feed, and anticipate the lovely, fragrant blooms they are going to be.

And then, sometimes – this being Scotland, the rains and winds come and play havoc with the buds. They bash them around and water accumulates on the unopened blooms, where it sits and rots the buds into brown cocoons which die off. Unrealised potential. Sad.

To God, we are each a rose bud. Full of promise, beauty and fragrance. Joy. Peace. Hope. He loves each bud, and has plans, good plans, for every one of us. Some of us endure stronger winds, wilder rains than we should, though, when we are at a tender age, and our spirits can wither within. But they don’t drop off, and the tender touch of our Lord can love these stunted buds into Life, and ‘make up for the years the locust has eaten’. 

Praying today for all whose starts in life were traumatic, loveless and sad. Praying that the whisper of the Spirit would encourage and fill all with hope, and would confirm that by the only one who really counts, they are loved.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Night must Fall

Night must fall. The darkness is beginning to close in earlier as we near the end of August. We lit a fire this week, and the next day sat outside in the sun. Scotland.

Night must fall. Echoes from my childhood and the family story that my dad had acted in a play of that name. I can remember seeing the program, and being very proud. He was almost famous. 

Night must fall, but morning will come for sure. Winter must come, but spring follows hard on its heels. There is a rhythm to our lives which is comforting, consoling. 

The rhythm counts a cadence towards a new dawn. A day when Jesus will reign and there will be no more sorrow, no more tears, no more wars. We’re his advance troops, preparing the way for his arrival by living the light, letting it shine out into all the dark spots. 

We don’t lose heart. We don’t lose hope. Night must fall, but the morning is coming.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Tough Transitions

The grain stands ready for the combine, but the grey skies are full of moisture today. Where did that old sun go? As the trees begin to change colour, we are truly in transition mode.

Back to school weeks across Scotland mean excited wee folk, slightly scared, putting on their uniforms and heading off for P1. Even smaller, even more excited wee folk prepare for that first morning or afternoon at play group or nursery, and for them, there could be tears and tantrums at partings. So hard, transitions.

Teachers returning to work, after a summer of well-earned rest or headed back after maternity leave. A new regime, new stresses, new pressures. So hard, transitions.

I can remember after a three-month summer in the California sun, where my feet never wore anything more substantial than a t-strap sandal, to suddenly have to put on those new school shoes. My mother had a phobia of foot problems so we wore what they call in America ‘saddle shoes’, which my sister and I loathed. Lace-up shoes, sometimes two-toned, needing a polish every week and looking so clunky next to friends’ shoes which might have buckles and bows. So hard, the pinching shoes, transitions.

Other changes all around. Folk retiring. Folk starting new jobs. Folk being made redundant. New marriages. Bereavements.  So hard, transitions.

God is the only one who never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is our rock and our refuge. Especially in the tough transitions.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017


It’s as though the world has been wrapped in cling film (Saran wrap), as an unbroken film of cloud cossets the world beneath. Barley stands ripe in the field round us, awaiting the combine harvester. The cows seem to be corralled in the correct field this morning, so all’s well, and quiet, in this corner of the world.

Maybe today I’m hunkering down in ‘Time Out’. It’s been busy, and sometimes these old bones and joints let me know it’s been a bit busier than usual. So I have hopes today of spending some time writing. 

And the sunflowers? Aren’t they glorious? Our neighbouring farmer has grown a field of them again and to give him a plug – he’s selling them for 50p a bloom, from the farm. 

There is a connection between a time out, and sunflowers. Thinking of the way the sunflowers keep their happy faces turned towards the sun as it traces its path through the sky, today I plan to keep my face towards the Son in every job I have to do, and in every word I write.