Friday, 21 September 2012

Mum's the Word 3

Calling all Salvation Army Singing Company (choir) members from the 70’s and 80’s! Remember this one? “What blest provision of thy grace, that I should find a secret place? Within thy presence there to dwell and silently my need to tell.” New Songs for YP May’74. I was in Liverpool Walton Singing Company, when I sang this for the first time. At the tender age of 9, it captured my imagination, and even more so now. Tell me any busy Mum who doesn’t occasionally long for a secret place of their own! So imagine my joy over the last few years as it dawned on me that a “devotional time” (pious face optional) with God, wasn’t necessarily going to be a set time or place in my schedule. Instead, the ever-present God refused to be compartmentalised, and I could find him wherever I chose to look. When returning home after a busy day, and finding a whole host of mundane tasks still to do, I realized that I could just take off my shoes, and remind myself that I was on ‘holy ground’ (Exodus 3:5) Margaret Silf writes in ‘Close to the Heart’, “There is more prayer in the scrap yards of our hearts than we imagine. If we look for signs in the heavens, we may easily overlook God’s footprints in the sidewalk. The true vine is on the greengrocer’s shelf. The pearl of great price lies hidden in the cracks of our city sidewalks. And the salt of the earth is what we sprinkle on our own potatoes.” It never ceases to amaze me that the majestic, awesome God is an everyday reality in my life. There are moments of reverence and awe, when I am reminded of how amazing he is. But as I work out my faith in the every day, God reveals himself through the little details, and reminders of his presence in my life. During Lent I took part in the 60/60 experiment. The challenge was to remind myself moment by moment that I was in God’s presence. Alarms were set on phones and post-it notes were put up in strategic places around the house with 60/60 on them. (One bright spark added, “don’t forget to flush” to one of them.) But the challenge was not to pray more, but a minute-by-minute communication with the Creator. It was great - I became aware that I often spent much of my day ignoring God, apart from those moments I remembered to pray or was doing something specific for him. God of the everyday is a reality, not a pipe-dream. So what else do I do to try and sustain some kind of meaningful relationship with Him? I try and spend a few moments each day somewhere green. It calms me, and reminds me that those birds singing their hearts out are just being what God created them to be. I need to do the same. I play a CD or playlist on shuffle, and ask God to speak to me through the music. It’s strange how listening to things in a different order can give a real sense of what God is saying to me. I try to remember to commit each day to God, asking him to use me for him. I have a note on the mirror, “When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul toward You. You are there first.” Soren Kierkegaard I pray. Wherever I am, and whatever I’m doing, I often find myself praying, almost without realizing it. I read God’s word. Not as often as I would like to, or even should probably. And I often find myself saying with Jacob in Genesis 28:16, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.! I love being a Mum (some of you may remember….!) I love being a wife. And I love being a Salvation Army officer (minister). Most of the time anyway… But underneath it all I am someone who loves being the child that God created me to be. I need to regularly work out what that means as I live out my faith day by day. It hasn’t changed much since I was 9yrs old in the Singing Company. “Within the secret place of prayer I bring to Thee my daily care, and kneel before thy gracious throne. With thee my Lord, my God alone.”

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