Monday, 22 April 2013

Sinking but not sunk

Confession time today - I'm a bit of a hand-wash harridan.

As a nurse, I spent more time than I care to count washing my hands at a sink.

Those were the days before alcohol sprays and hand-sanitisers were prevalent.

We washed and scrubbed as if our lives (or that of our patients at least) depended on it.

Germs didn't stand a chance!

As a mother of two young sons, I waged war on the dirt that clung with magnetic-like resistance and repulsed attempts to dislodge itself from football and rugby kit.




Somehow, dirt and boys have an irresistible attraction to one another.

In the era that was pre 'In-wash' grime-grabbers, it was a siege against soil wrought with a large bar of green 'Fairy' soap, scrubbing brush in hand, 'elbow grease' and dogged determination that succeeded in shifting the stains enough to allow machine to take over.

Before little boys graced our lives, I lived as one chained to sink.

Mine red hands that cracked, chapped with soreness, dry as paper, rough as a washerwoman's.

For I could not shift stains that seeped from heart so soiled it leaked over every surface

Nothing I touched was safe. Germs and dirt lurked everywhere. Nothing shifted it.

In matters of my heart's state, it was more of a Lady Macbeth cry of, "Will these hands ne'er be clean?" as I scrubbed yet again at the crusted-on soil of my imperfections.




Not just the hands, but heart, mind and everything else.

Peter-like, seeking total immersion in Christ's washing power.

In life, I have many a heart-sink moment as the following thoughts invade:

I'm a failure. I can't do this. I'm drowning. I'm my own worst enemy.

Etcetera....etcetera...

No matter how many times I try to clean up on the inside, I fail continually

Spring-cleaning as we know it doesn't help clean ingrained dirt in heart, mind and life.

Though even in the grime-busting there remains a beauty of sorts as bubbles burst with rainbow radiance - a visible reminder of the wondrous power of God's grace to remove our stains. 



Just lately, self-esteem has hit rock bottom. The detritus of discouragement has dirtied my thoughts with its muddy footprints.

Comparison has stolen my joy. Competitiveness sours my peace. Criticism (generally of the self-inflicted variety) saps my confidence.

How dare I have the temerity to pursue a God-sized dream, write a blog and start an on-line course, when health and energy are always compromised? Who do I think I am?

I am continually reminded of my weak human frailty and condition.


Then I remember how God fashioned us as clay - earthy, malleable, ready to be made fit for purpose. And that takes time, co-operation, willingness and obedience.

His purpose involves rescuing from those things that hold us captive; yes, even saving us from ourselves, our worst thoughts, activities and desires. 
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." ~ Psalm 40:1-2
God sees our potential even as we drown in poison.

He places His own desires, plans and purposes in our hearts. 

We can stand strong instead of mud-sinking.

The Rock we stand on is Christ Himself. Firm. Immovable. Strong. Dependable.

We are seed-bearers of His goodness and carriers of His grace, beautiful in His sight.

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Though we may still feel grubby, dirt-laden, unclean and soiled, God's word tells us we are washed clean once and for all by the blood of Christ, renewed and restored as an on-going process by His grace.

This gives me hope that though I may sink at times, I am never sunk

Love lifted me and He still does - every single day.

These are words God encouraged me with in prayer and I hope they will bless you too:

Prayer Whispers

"It is in those times when you lose sight of Me and become more focused on the opinion and approval of others that you are tempted to sink into a sea of self-pity or drown in discouragement and despair. Lift your head out of that pit and see Me. I have been here all along. My arm ready to reach down and pull you out as soon as you recognised where you were. Pits and valleys are part of Kingdom living in this world, although you are not intended to stay in them. They are passing-places where lessons are learnt and growth and change begin to occur as you move through them and out the other side. Take My hand today and allow Me to draw you gently onto safe ground and pleasant pastures. Feed on My word, abide in My Presence, soak in My love, and you will be healed, renewed and restored to journey on"

Will you join me in taking hold of the hand of Christ?

He specialises in spring-cleaning our souls.

We're not designed for swamp living, though we can be pretty happy splashing about in muddy waters if that's all we've known.

Let's allow Him to lift us out of the mud and mire we may have slipped into and place us in the safety of His cleansing, healing, loving embrace.


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This week Kimberly Coyle is hosting #concretewords - where we write in the abstract using a concrete word prompt - over at her site. The prompt is 'The Sink'.

You can keep in touch with me on Twitter or by liking my Facebook page

Please feel free to leave a comment.

I love to read and reply to them.

10 comments:

  1. Oh Joy, this has so touched my heart, I am in a place where I feel I am sinking right now and this has been a balm - to be reminded that God heals, renews and restores. You are a blessing :)

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    1. Dear Tania, thank you for your lovely comment. I am, as always, both delighted and humbled by God giving me words to bless others with. So pleased this helped you, my friend. He is the lifter of our head and restorer of our souls - always. Bless you :) xx

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  2. This was such a powerful post! So true and honest... I loved this: "Comparison has stolen my joy. Competitiveness sours my peace. Criticism (generally of the self-inflicted variety) saps my confidence." Oh - how easy it is to fall prey to this line of habit! We are link up neighbors today over at Kimberlys... this was my first attempt at joining in with #concretewords... still not sure I did it right but then again, maybe that is that criticism again! Blessings!

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    1. Hi Karrilee. Thanks very much for stopping by! It's lovely to meet you. Please do continue with #concretewords if you can. The whole process has unearthed a memoir style of writing for me that is helping to unleash memories and see God's hand at work in the past and in the here and now. Whatever the result for you, it cannot fail to stretch and enhance your skills. Bless you for your lovely comment! :)x

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  3. Lovely words and a needed reminder that God makes all things new, all the time.

    Thank you so much for sharing your concrete words over at my blog. I'm afraid I'm having a bit of a hiccup with the linky, and so if you wouldn't mind stopping by and adding your link again, I would so appreciate it! Sorry for the confusion, but it's my first time trying to add a linky to the blog. I'm perpetually confused by technology!

    Thanks, Joy:)

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    1. Hi Kimberly. Thanks very much for your kind words and for giving me an opportunity to share and link up with you. I did have another attempt at the link-up and it succeeded. But when I looked again to check whether there was a new prompt for next week I found it had disappeared! Not sure why. Don't worry, I also find technology confusing! Will give it another go before Monday :) x

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  4. interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you
    Estetik

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    1. Hi Estetik. Thanks very much for your comment. Please could you clarify what you would like more details about? I'm afraid I cannot really help unless you make it clear exactly what you mean, e.g the blog in general, this post or something specific within it. Thank you :)

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  5. We are sisters of the heart, my friend. I could have written those words, well, not exactly because of different styles. And I love your style of writing. God reaches out and touches my heart through your words. Don't compare, Dare. Dare to write always, because you are so talented and have so much to say that people can relate to. And so much of what you say is raw, right from the heart--not carefully scripted, but authentic. You don't know how you have ministered to my heart. I am so blessed to have you for a friend, dear Joy. Always friends, love, Debby xx :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Debby, for these reassuring words! With God's grace and equipping I will "Dare to write..right from the heart" as He has already enabled me to. If my words have blessed you, then all thanks and praise to Him. Bless you, dear friend, and sister of the heart, for this lovely, encouraging comment. Love, Joy :) xx

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