Friday, 31 January 2014

Five Minute Friday: Hero

Five Minute Friday.
The day we write for five minutes on a given word.
This week's word is HERO.

GO

My Dad was a Hero.
No, he really was.
His training session at The Salvation Army college was called
'Heroes of the Faith'.

What a title!
What a challenge!
What a legacy!

I met with colleagues this week for a time of worship.
We gave thanks for the life of our regional leader
who died suddenly from a heart attack last Thurs.

We sang our songs
We prayed our prayers
We told our stories of Peter.

We talked about his caring nature
His sense of humour
His ability to get angry graciously
His integrity

His love for God
His wife
His family
His people

We laughed
We cried
We gave thanks for this man of God
Taken from us at a time we wouldn't have chosen,
had we been given the choice.

A man of God
A man of faith
A hero.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Blooming Monday!

Today has been given the name Blue Monday.
But it will be forever known as Blooming Monday around these parts.

Today I have come clean to some of my closest friends
that the depression that comes again and again in my life
is lurking like a dementor at the moment,
And has been for about six weeks.

I hadn't told them because you can say what you like
Until you're blue in the face
Every time it comes again
I feel I've failed
That their high-maintenance friend needs them
Again
And I wouldn't blame them if they'd had enough.
Lord knows, I have.

But I want to tell you a few things about this
Blooming Monday.

No it's not been the best of days.
Yes things have gone wrong
Quite a few actually.

But I'm sat writing
Wrapped in TWO prayer shawls
That friends lovingly created
And prayed into for me

And I'm remembering that today...

I've seen the sea
And heard the waves
And eaten jam doughnuts
And been given beautiful flowers by the love of my life.

I've watched a film
And had dinner made for me
And my son has just brought me a cup of tea
With chocolate!

And as I feel the gentle warmth of the shawls
So the truth seeps into my soul

That I am loved

And cherished

And I will get through this
(Again)

And that God knows

And moment by moment
He has lovingly planned every inch of the way.

My trust need not falter though the path is steep.

So Blue Monday has been Blooming Monday
Not least because hope can bloom anywhere.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Five Minute Friday: Encourage

You matter.

Really and truly.

Every day of your life.
From the moment you wake up
whether it's with a "Good Morning God."
Or a "O God, is it really morning?"
You matter.

So if life is really hard at the moment
And you're wondering if it's worth it...

Or you're literally bouncing around
Full of the joys....

If someone has said something to you that has cut deeper than a flesh wound,
Or you did something with the best of intentions, and have been misunderstood...

If 'life's a bitch and then you die' is truly where you're at,
Please STOP

And breathe

And remember

That you are loved.

Look around you for your 'cloud of witnesses'
who will cheer you on,
or pause with you in the race while you rest and catch your breath.

Be encouraged.

God loves you above and beyond anything.

Truly.

If you're reading this,
then chances are you've been one of my cheerleaders in the past.

I'd like to return the favour today.

So as I write this, the prayer I pray for all of us is just this:

"May the God of hope
Fill YOU with all Joy
And Peace
As you trust in HIM."


Monday, 13 January 2014

A thank you.

I had my Officer Development Review/Appraisal today.
There's nothing like a spot of navel-gazing on a Monday morning!

It was my first since 2008 for many reasons.

It made me realise how fortunate I am
to have people in my life who have
loved,
supported,
and helped me through these past years.

Some have been there all along.
You'll know who you are when you read this.
There are not enough words to express how I feel about you,
My forever friends.

Others,
God has brought back in to my life
after a long absence.
It brought discomfort at first
as I came face to face with the past.
But we hung in there.
Your contribution to my life is immeasurable.

Others are 'virtual friends'
So-called because we have never met
Yet you have brought such blessing
And challenge
And solace to me
that it feels as if we grew up together.

And as I have been saddened at the loss of some friends
(See previous blog posts)

So I am grateful for those
who have come in to my life.

New friends
who have brought
light
and life
and hope.

God has a way of knowing exactly what we need
even before we ask.
Who knew....?

Friday, 10 January 2014

Five Minute Friday: See

"Earth is crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God
But only he who sees
Takes off his shoes.
The rest sit around picking blackberries."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Lord help me to see today.

To see you in the world around me.

To see the truth in the eyes masked by a smile.

To see those who are bowed beneath their load.

To see the meaning behind the words in a text
And the pain lurking in a Facebook status.

To see the doorways I need to walk through
And the doors I need to close, because what is behind them is not for me.

Help me to see, truly see, with your eyes.

Help me to see you more clearly

Love you more dearly

Follow you more nearly

Day
By day
By day

Amen

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Morning moments.

I have a free day today.
Ish...

I had a frantic P.E.kit-needing phone call at 08.04am
But still...
For now
The candles are lit.
Jesus is here.
And I'm still.

And my mind feels like the inside
of an old-fashioned printing press.
The cogs are moving
The wheels are turning
And I imagine bells
And whistles
And probably steam.

And how do I get rid of that?
How do I call a halt when the workings of my mind feel physical?
When it feels like hard, hard work to calm it?
When being still is not just physical
but emotional
and mental?

We went for a walk yesterday
me and my man.
And we had one of our 'prayer-moments'
as we walked.
I prayed as the wind was howling
And battering us
Almost lifting us off our feet.

And as I prayed
for peace
and calm in our family life,
the song started.

The one in my heart that had spoken volumes to me
when I had no idea of how strong storms could be
And no inkling of life as I knew it being snatched away.

"Still.
My soul be still.
And do not fear
though winds of change may rage tomorrow....

God.
You are my God.
And I will trust in you
and not be shaken.

Lord of peace
Renew a steadfast spirit within me
That rests
In You
alone."

Ann Voskamp asks:
"Are you a Jesus-user?
Or a Jesus-adorer?

When who Jesus is overwhelms you
nothing that happens can overcome you.

Just be with Jesus
Listen to Jesus
Rest in Jesus
Wait for Jesus
Be loved by Jesus
Wonder over Jesus
Live through Jesus."

"Do you not realise that Christ is in you?"
2 Corinthians 13:5

Jesus.
Only Jesus.
All I am
And have
And ever hope to be.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Five Minute Friday: Fight

"Outside.
Now"

Is it only on Eastenders that people actually say that?
I can't imagine wanting to invite people to come outside and inflict pain on me.

But fight?
I know it well.
We are companions on the road.
Along with battle

And struggle.

Maybe that's just the way life is?

I know Jesus never promised it would be easy.
In fact he warned of the the opposite.

But with the warning came the promise
"I've won!!"

So at the start of this year
I'm ready..... ish.
We're in this together
He and I.

We're fighting for joy
And love
And peace of heart and mind.
We're fighting against
things that threaten to floor me.

And the really good news?

"I will fight for you.
All you have to do is be still"
Exodus 14:14

Ssssh!!!

Oh
(I'm whispering....)

And Happy New Year!