Monday, 23 December 2013

When a gift doesn't look like one

In this busy season for writing lists and buying gifts, we try to decide what to give others and may wonder what we'll receive in return. Although not every gift is a welcome one.

God handed me a gift I have failed to receive graciously, denied I'd been given, tried to ignore, declined to unwrap or accept.

He gave me the gift of fragility and weakness.

People aren't exactly queueing up to ask or pray for it.

I mean, how is that even a gift? Isn't it more like a punishment?

On the outside, observing the life of a person with M.E and chronic illness which incapacitates physically and mentally, impacts every activity and causes profound fatigue, pain and weakness ~ well, who in the world would want to receive it?

Isn't this one to hand back to God with a, “No thanks, you must be mistaken”? Which is just how we feel about so many painful and challenging circumstances.

Only...I am beginning to appreciate that He allows these things into our lives for a reason. And I'm starting to... Read more here at my encouraging writer and social media friend, James Prescott's site where I am delighted to be guest posting today..

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Let truth be told

Sometimes we have to face up to home-truths about ourselves that make us squirm and try to wriggle away with shame and embarrassment.

I'm having one of those times.

As I've gone through Advent my deepest desire has been to connect with God at heart level, sense the pulse of His love beating through me, waken to His presence and awaken that desire in others.

The reality? A bit grim actually.

Well.. to be fair, there have been moments when He spoke clearly and insightfully, gave me poetic words to share that have been a blessing to others, and...there have also been long stretches of days without end when I trip over myself continually, hot with shame and disappointment, barely able to lift my head at all.

And as for hearing His voice, resting and listening, feeling peaceful, joyful ~ no, none of those to any great measure at all, sad to say.

Or maybe I have but I failed to see or appreciate it. Because, don't we just pull away whenever we fail our image of ourselves, never mind how we think God perceives us?

I've blushed hot and shivered cold with the way I've reacted to life recently.

Self control? Maturity? Not in this fallen woman's heart. Against all intention and desire I cannot seem to stop speaking negatively about myself most of all ~ denying the truth of His word and what it says about who I am in Christ.

I rail out at my beloved, with my perfectionist tendencies insisting on the rightness of my stance or version of events blinding me to the pain he feels at being discounted, and the hurt on his dear face.

Yes, sorry to say, blaming things (and other people) has come all too easy.

I'm hormonal. I'm in need of a break. I'm overtired/unwell/stressed/pressured etc. etc..

All these reasons (excuses) from my inner voice fall into a meaningless void whenever I've allowed God to get a word in edgeways.

Missing those times of still attentivenes before Him (due to my inner restlessness) hasn't helped much.

Now I am seeing that lies (even supposedly kind white ones), wrong attitudes and behaviour don't stand a chance in the Light of Truth ~ pure, holy, fiery, searing, soul-cleansing truth.

And as I've sought answers in the secret place, I sense words of Truth hitting home with hammer and nail finality yet with an overriding gentleness and grace.

Truth is a Person. It is Christ Himself. The One who desires truth in our inner being, the bringer and revealer of all wisdom, insight and knowledge.

He longs for us to see the truth of His life and follow after Him.

Lately, I've been too wrapped up in bad behaviour ~ swiftly followed by self-condemnation ~ to even want to speak these things out loud.

Yet here I am making a public declaration of it all and risking the ruining of whatever good reputation I may have gained in the eyes of others.

Truth hurts ~ but knowing it sets us free. We remain enslaved without it. 

Beyond anything else, I long and I need to be free. 

Captive to the manipulations and abuse from others in my childhood, slave to my own emotions, perceived as damaged goods, left with broken dreams and a broken heart ~ all these things need healing and restoring.

Without God's truth I am adrift on a sea of emotions, rudderless in every storm, powerless in the midst of problems, fearful instead of faithful, weak and weary instead of strong and capable.

For our capabilities rest in His ability alone. His keeping, holding, sustaining mercy, love and grace.

Real freedom means release from all that chains our souls to their earthly nature. It involves exchanging our self-driven lives for ones surrendered to God.

Where does this leave us?

When life throws us to our knees ~ it's the best place to look up and find Him there.

When we sin we need a Saviour ~ more than ever.

When we become discouraged and disappointed ~ we can become reappointed in Him. 

When we get tired of the everyday toil ~ we have hope for this life and life eternal.

When we want Christmas to be perfect ~ we can only find that in Christ as He is at the centre of it all.

So I turn once again to the One who brings beauty from ashes, collects my tears in a bottle, sees and understands all, who offers mercy and forgiveness rich and free ~ given at great cost and price to Him.

Because I NEED a Saviour. I need His love to wrap me round, His Light to reveal the way I should walk, His word to instruct and guide, His endless patience and kindness, His restoration and healing.

And I shrug my shoulders at the thought of doing Christmas (or anything else for that matter) perfectly ~ especially as I am so dependent on Him and on others for help.

I admit and confess my weaknesses, faults and failings, regret my bad behaviour, dry my tears, breathe deep, rest myself once more in His presence, feel His hand upon me offering Himself again, sense Holy Spirit's anointing, and ~ move on changed ~ in heart if not in actions yet.

And, dear reader, that's the honest truth.

The best gift we've ever been given is to be offered a relationship with Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

I want to appreciate it to the full and pass on to you my joy in knowing Him, the way He meets me at my point of deepest need, how He delivers and sets me free.

If you feel like you've done nothing else of worth this year, please do yourself a favour and seek The Truth Himself.

He is waiting. Christ is here. He has come.

The Truth has been told.


Another confession:Most blog posts take a bit of time, refinement, fine-tuning and editing. But this? This one just poured out of me. And I've left it 'as is' in the hope that another soul will read and see I don't have it all together; I'm a 'work in progress' by God's grace and as messed up as the next person; and maybe, just maybe, they'll breathe a sigh of relief and feel less alone. 

That's my hope and prayer.

For we all need a Saviour. 'Aint that the truth?

Linking here with Nacole for #concretewords This week's prompt is ~ Truth. You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in.
And with Jennifer for #TellHisStory

Monday, 9 December 2013

A new life begins

During this Advent season our thoughts stray toward the mystery, awe and wonder of the Incarnation.

And we remember how Jesus took on our earthly human frame.

In considering what a marvel and miracle it is for God Himself to enter human history, we cannot forget the Son of Man hidden within the babe in a manger.

I'm sharing thoughts on this topic over at my writer friend Rebekah's site today where I have the honour and privilege of guest posting as part of her great series on 'The Spirit of Christmas'.

Here's a snippet:

Nothing else quite stirs our deep protective and nurturing instincts more than a newborn baby.

Such sweet vulnerability resides within.

A simple grasp of tiny fist clinging to adult finger a reminder of how fragile this new life is.

And those feet. Adorable, perfect miniatures of our own. Yet in the months ahead limbs unfurl and grow strong to support a toddler's frame.

As we bend to kiss a brow, wipe tears, give nourishment, witness growth and change before our eyes, do we ever think of Mary, mother of our Lord, as she lovingly tended to her son?

See Him as infant helpless.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given..."

Hands that flung stars into space reduced to starfish baby span ~ made calloused by carpentry, torn by sharp nails, pinioned to a cross of sorrow and shame.

A mouth that spoke creation into existence now made milky-soft, dependent ~ to become a voice of wisdom, instruction and healing for others.

Feet used to circling the world with silent steps ~ now made...  ~  You can read the rest here ~ 


Thursday, 5 December 2013

An invitation not to be missed

One of the loveliest things anyone can do for us is to invite and welcome us into their life.

To share at a deep level is trust revealed and given.

And our response to it could make or break that friendship.

Because there is a reciprocal response required.

How about when it's God issuing the invitation?

Will we draw near to the Source of Life Himself?

Maybe we will go to Him willingly if we appreciate the worth of this invitation. Or maybe we hesitate ~ wary, uncertain, or unwilling to follow.

Since the beginning of this year God has been trying to get my attention. The 'word' He laid on my heart should have given me a clue as to His intentions.

Yet my soul has pulled away and strayed more often than not from the simple call of "Come".

This week three words have repeated themselves:"Come to Me" and I know it's time I listened and heeded them.

'Come to Me'

Come to Me when you are weary
worn out and sad
Come to Me when you are happy,
rejoicing and glad

Come to Me in sorrow
when clouds obscure your day
Come to Me in anger
when nothing goes your way

Come to Me when you are empty
needing to be filled
Come to Me anxious, wary,
needing to be stilled

Come to Me impatient, restless,
desperate for a change
Come to Me when life's a mess
for Me to rearrange

Come to Me continually, always,
just as you are
Come to Me willingly each day
though I seem near or far

Come to Me hungry, waiting
to be fed
Come to Me dry, thirsty,
for My Living Bread

Come to Me ~ don't hesitate
or stay in despair
Come to Me now
I will always Be Here

"Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" ~ Matthew 11:28
"Come, all who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without cost...Give ear and come to me; hear me that your soul may live" ~ Isaiah 55:1 -3
I've really needed this reminder recently.

As days get busier and more stressful I can't afford not to go to God on a regular basis.

He alone is the centre and oasis of calm in the midst of chaos.

Peace in our pain and problems.

Rest and refreshment in times of rush and hurry.

Continual love and compassion for when we need a tender touch.

Our patience and endurance when every last scrap deserts us.

Hope in the hard places.

Grace as we grapple to see our way forward.

Light eternal to make the way ahead clearer.


Maybe God is saying something similar to you too?

Perhaps, like me, you sense Holy Spirit speaking to your heart.

Maybe this Advent season is a good time to come to Him and let Christ live in your heart.


Joining here with Jennifer for #TellHisStory and with Nacole for #concretewords

**Note** ~ This poem is a rare one now on 'Words of Joy' as most of my poetry is being profiled on my new site ~ I'd love you to hop over and take a look.