Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Word power

What does it mean to communicate?

We probably think we have the answer in the myriad ways in which we carry out this activity.

But do we stop and consider if our words and messages match our hearts, thoughts, or intentions?

Are we communicating to bring clarity, purpose, hope and meaning to one another? 

Much of what we express is done with the words we say or leave unsaid.

So much can  get lost in translation.

So much can fail to convey what we desire.
"Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me" ~ Anon (English Language children's rhyme)
The quote above may be familiar to you. The second line is alternatively: "but names will never hurt me". I don't know about you but I think it is way off the truth, even if this was drummed into us with the intention of stiffening our spines to playground taunts, the slings and arrows of outrageous insults that were flying our way, hopefully more often with mischief than malice.
"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit" ~ Proverbs 18:21
Words spoken Over us, To us, About us - names and labels applied by others (or ones we attach to ourselves) - all have the power to bring change for good or ill. They can bless, heal, restore and encourage or have potential to wound, emotionally upset, damage, and affect how we perceive ourselves.

This week's God-sized Dream challenge is to: "Think back to another time when you took positive action in your life. What's the one thing that helped you move forward that you could apply again now and someone else could benefit from hearing too?"

I have been remembering the time when I came to the end of counselling for the emotional pain in my past. It was clear that I needed to think of and speak about myself using different terminology than before. 

The negative messages from childhood, which had very much shaped the way I saw myself, were crying out to be addressed and positive reinforcement applied instead. 

I'd unconsciously absorbed and worn 'labels' that didn't fit me anymore as a believer in Christ:

Unwanted, Unloved, Rejected, Lost, Ashamed, Guilty.... etc

God has given me new names from His word and encouraged me to believe I was now THIS: Precious, Beloved, Redeemed, Honoured and Forgiven instead of THAT list above.
Words have power to change our life by changing our way of thinking
In order to move forward I needed to require a new mind-set which would come from focusing on His word and what it said about me, instead of focusing on my feelings and old patterns of thinking. To change my life by changing my words. A brilliant little book really helped me to do this and I still turn to it whenever I need a boost and a reminder.
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will" ~ Romans 12:2 - 3
I'd love to report that it all made sense and I woke up the next day thinking only positive thoughts and speaking only good things over my life. If Only.

What has taken years to be absorbed can take a long time to rectify because old habits die hard and new habits take time to cultivate

I am very much a 'Work in Progress' in this area as in so many. Much patience is needed.

Little by little, though, I am seeing changes for the better in my way of thinking and feeling. It is no longer automatic for me to respond to a compliment with a put-down. I am generally able to believe what the Bible says about me and gain peace from it.

This is definitely something I can apply to my God-sized Dream quest and, indeed, the rest of my life. Positive affirmation and thinking go a long way toward making us whole.
"We all talk to ourselves. A major key to success exists in what we say to ourselves, which helps to shape out attitude and mindset" ~ Darren L. Johnson
Would you join me in applying God's truth to the lies spoken over you, the untruths you have believed and spoken about yourself, that have affected you with pain, sadness, and feelings of powerlessness?

Your past doesn't have to determine your future

Today can be the start of the rest of your life

God can equip you to believe for better and see it happen

Let's also try to remember to 'speak' words of life and hope into the lives of others too and bless them with positive reinforcement. For it is said:

"Tread softly because you tread on my dreams" ~ William Butler Yeats

God-Sized Button
In this post I am linking up with Holley Gerth and the God-sized Dream team. Do join us for the journey of discovering all that God has in store for you this year.

There will be more about the power of words to come in future posts, including my 'One Word' for 2013.

You can also connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Love hurts

Appearances can be deceptive

From the outside our lives and loves can look blissful or blessed at least

But inside they may be slowly dying

To love is to live as God intended

It comes with His recommendation

It promises so much

Love can bring us the deepest joy or most searing pain - sometimes both together

The lyrics below show how fragile love can be and how easily hurt or harmed by a careless word or gesture. 

They are taken from a song entitled:'You always hurt the one you love' (written by Allen Roberts, music by Doris Fisher and made famous by many artists) You can click on the link above to hear Michael Buble's version.

"You always hurt the one you love, 
The one you shouldn't hurt at all
You always take the sweetest rose
and crush it till the petals fall"

Outwardly, my Other Half could be viewed as a weak, indecisive, fear-filled man. After experiencing several serious losses throughout his life and a complete mental health breakdown 8 years ago (from which he is still recovering), you could say, in many ways, that the description holds true.

However, if they could know and see him as I do then they would be viewing someone who exemplifies the patiently persevering, enduring, faithful, self-sacrificing, lavish, grace-filled love of Jesus to me better than anyone I know

He has laid down his life, denied himself and carried a heavy cross for the last 30 + years. Now his whole frame buckles under the weight of it, with a heart that feels crushed and torn. Eyes fill, and he is drowning in sadness and sorrow. His lot is the heart-sick burden of hope deferred beyond endurance - and I am largely the cause of it.

This wonderful man (who I shall call The Philosopher - for such is his propensity to deeply ponder life's great truths) is looking to me to mend that breaking heart, pour love back into it and restore what was lost.

He is mostly looking to God for those things, but his dearest wish is for me to supply them. No matter how much I love him (and I do - desperately), my ability to return his love is greatly impaired and has been for many years. And it's breaking my own heart too.

We didn't go into this marriage blind.

The Philosopher's eyes were open to the fact that I came with a lot of baggage. In fact, I had so much of it that I really needed a large trailer to put it in - and we're not talking about clothes here.

I was a wounded young woman who had already experienced the dark side: being the product of an affair, an unwanted baby, abused emotionally and sexually in my childhood, neglected, from a broken home...you get the picture.

Though my fragility and instability were drawn like a moth to the flame of God's love in Christ as I accepted His invitation to come, be cleansed and renewed at the age of 17. 

For the duration of our courtship, God was very much first in my life and my husband-to-be a close second. The shadows of my past were safely locked away in a box marked 'No Access' and I lived briefly and gloriously with freedom, love and laughter - in blissful ignorance of what was to come.

My father died 2 months before our wedding day.

Two months into the marriage and I was a complete wreck undergoing a nervous breakdown that tested The Philosopher's love and faithfulness to the extreme.

My personality and relationship splintered into tiny fragments which have taken years to piece together again and are still a work in progress - by the grace of God 

The honeymoon was short-lived indeed. Little did we know there would be no return to those halcyon days.

Much more could be said. Maybe one day I will write a book about it all.

For now, I am sharing my story because it is the one God has given and allowed me to experience, and some of it may help others to see that they are not alone with their pain or to count their blessings if these things are alien to them

Too much gets swallowed down or left ignored.

Too many Christians believe the lie that they have to have-it all-together or at least look as if they do.

I share because it refuses to be silenced and is currently impacting my life in a big way. 

Wounds unhealed only fester beneath the surface. Sometimes what we want to write and say conflicts with the story unique to us.

This one is screaming out to be heard - whether I want it to be or not - this is part of who I am, my story and my life.

Some may want to turn away from what they perceive as 'dirty laundry' being aired in public. Others will feel a leap of recognition in their hearts and whisper soft "You too?"

We are still living with the consequences of it.

This year I am in pursuit of my God-sized dream. It is slowly dawning on me that God doesn't do things by halves. Before I can embrace the new, He has to gently tear down what is hampering my progress in moving forward.

God renews us from the inside out.

You can't build strong with a weak foundation. A shaky edifice will soon crumble

I am partnering with God in the process that will "rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated" ~ (Isaiah 61:4) so that I can be part of His great promise:
"Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs" ~ Isaiah 61:7
How I long for that day! Meanwhile, we seek to live and love as openly and freely as we are capable of, knowing that only God can love us perfectly. He enables and equips us to love others better when we surrender to His ways.

A Prayer:

We come to you as we are, as You bid us to come
No pretence. No false illusions.
We are needy people 
who desire above all to know You 
right here in the messiness of our lives.
It can feel and be so overwhelming at times
as the chains of the past hold us captive,
the pain of the present can blind us to Your Presence.
Come into the darkness of our hearts, lives and situations
Bring Your hope, healing, grace and mercy
Restore what is lost
Deliver us from discouragement and despair
Flood us with light and love
Encourage our hearts
Equip us to change
Make us new

Until we meet again, may you know His abiding Presence and peace in all circumstances and continue to pursue His best for your lives. 

You can also connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Going solo?

The waters are choppy. I'm holding on for all I'm worth. One woman pitted against the buffeting winds and rising waves.

Not sailing as you might know it.
But attempting to keep this vessel afloat in stormy seas.

The tides of life and waters of adversity are trying to steer me off course.

 Others are alongside me in the battle to stay afloat. But I am managing this part solo. 

Apart from the wind of the Holy Spirit

The whispering voice through the weariness of a long-distance voyage

The Captain of the ship

The Helmsman

The Anchor
God-Sized Button
You see, this week's God-sized Dream challenge was to find ourselves a buddy. To team up with a friend to come on board to offer prayer, support and encouragement in pursuit of our dream. 

This friend could come from our regular, everyday lives or be an on-line companion. The idea being to write a post about who you have chosen and why.

Which left me in rather a dilemma.

Strangely, this is a dream I've shared openly on a public platform with people who don't really know me, yet lacked the courage to discuss with those who do

I have very few close Christian friends who I could call upon at short notice for this task. Many are just too hard-pressed and busy for me to want to bother them, or simply not available.

I realise I haven't opened up and shared as I could have done. 

My dream stayed locked up.

Perhaps this fragile, germinating seed of a dream might wilt or wither under the potential blaze of bewilderment, chill of indifference or heat of rejection from those whose opinion means so much to me?

Issues of trust and insecurity can be paralysing and stop us from moving forward

The hermit-like, housebound existence I have as an M.E and chronic illness sufferer can mean long periods without seeing another soul apart from my husband.

It is all too easy for friends to lose touch, drift apart, be separated by distance as well as time - despite the numerous ways we have to stay connected.

After making a few tentative enquiries that came to nothing, and praying about what to do, I began to see that I do indeed have a friend accompanying me on this journey.

This Friend is always with me

He planted this dream within my heart

He will nurture the seedling of promise and cause it to become a strong plant

With This Friend by my side I have no need to fear

I am covered in prayer

I am protected from harm
Supported. Encouraged. Loved.

After all, He created me, knows me inside out and cares deeply for me.

This could be a time to trust in the fact that God Himself is partnering with me and may want me to simply rest in and rely on Him for the time being.
In fact, God is partnering with all of us who invite Him in to our everyday lives, hopes and dreams, who open the door of their heart and ask Him in. He longs to be in relationship with you too
We also need other people and relationships to enrich our lives, share with, reveal hidden depths and aspects of our characters, offer help, support and encouragement on our journey through life.

I am grateful for those who relate to me that way and still open to the possibility of a friend partnering me for this God-sized dream journey!

In this post I am linking up with Holley Gerth and the rest of the God-sized Dream team. We'd love you to join us and share this journey of exploration, growth and change.

You can also like my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

I hope you will keep in touch so we can support and encourage one another in the pursuit of our God-sized dream and the challenges it brings and share our life with God in other ways too.

Stay blessed and encouraged!

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Father God,
I am breaking with tradition here.
Our conversations are normally private.

But I sense what I am feeling and experiencing is echoed in others' lives.
There is purpose in sharing.

Just as I am learning the art and craft of poetry and writing in the doing of it, 
I am also learning the art of the Christian life 
in the practise of it.

The stop - start of surrender versus self-will,
 faith versus fear, 
grace versus greed, 
attending to You versus attending to anxiety.
Boldness versus quaking.
Strength instead of weakness.

Yesterday, I wrote about faith.
Attempted to define the Indefinable.
To express the Inexpressible.

Today, I wonder why faith so often feels like
 being stretched on a torture rack 
instead of a gentle limbering and warming of muscles before a race.

To be honest, I am really struggling with holding on.
This walk of faith is no picnic, no walk in the park.
Not for the faint-hearted.
Everything in me hurts.
I ache for Ordinary.
My normal is like a bad dream.

So many of us live lives of quiet desperation,
 frustration, discouragement and despair.
Surviving today feels like a marathon.
Tomorrow is another day to dread or endure.

That finishing line may find me thus:
limping, wounded, gasping, 
battle-scarred, crawling in the dirt,
barely able to reach the end -
Seeking Your hand to grasp.

We long to see change.
We long for a sign, a touch, a word.
We long to see You act in ways we cannot miss

But...You already have.


Render my world
laughter erupting
clean and new

Give me anything but
fear and tear filling 
guilt and shame.

Then I remember
how You hung -
crimson blood flowing
from nail-impaled
 sweat-drenched body - 
Death defeating.

Curtain torn asunder
dividing veil lifted
Victory secured -
Light has come.
©Joy Lenton2012

Thank you, Father, 
for Light in our darkness,
Hope in our gloom,
Peace in our pain,
Strength in our weakness, 
Beauty for ashes,
Joy instead of mourning,
Praise instead of despair.
For those of us who struggle to see these things,
who have lost hope,
who need restoration
of faith, of circumstances, 
and a fresh perspective;
please bring a revelation
of Your grace 
and a deeper sense
of Your Presence
to sustain us.

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Please feel free to leave a comment. I love to read and reply to them as often as I can.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Grace Notes: Faith

Faith can be variously described as having trust and confidence, a belief system, way of life, hopeful outlook or even blind optimism. 

It may seem such a nebulous, insubstantial, indefinable thing and then morph into the strongest element in our lives.

 Relationships usually require us to take a leap of faith in trusting our fragile hearts and hopes into another person's hands.

Biblical faith has an extra dimension.

 We place our faith in Someone who can be known (through His word and by experience) yet remains hidden from plain sight. How do we discover Him in the everyday?
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" ~ Hebrews 11:1
In essence, it could be summed up in the acronym:

For  All  I  Trust  Him
Our faith doesn't rest in our understanding or capabilities but in God's all-encompassing, unconditional love, His ability to keep us safe, be true to His word, to rescue, redeem, restore, deliver and heal us
In the reflection below I am attempting to put the expression of the Inexpressible into words

To see with the eyes of faith is:

To see the Supernatural in the natural 
and the Extraordinary in the ordinary

A bleak, barren, frost-gripped, ice-hard landscape
will bring forth
 fresh green shoots once more.
Natural eye cannot perceive
 activity 'neath 
rock-stiffened soil
 and breath-frozen air -
Yet it is there.

Bridal froth of cherry pink and white blossom 
blooms abundantly in its season.
Silently sown by grace
Expectantly viewed 
and received by faith
looked on with joy.

Faith is a gift that enables us to believe
in and for the impossible, imperceivable, unknowing

Once eyes of hearts are open
we see glimmers, mere twinkling suggestions
of what lies beneath our sight
and beyond comprehension.
The Unknowing 
becoming known
through a babe, man, 
Word become flesh.

Holding our flesh-babes 
in arms, hearts and lives 
we see them moving, 
walking, talking, living,
 vital, functioning beings
even as they lie dormant,
dependent, helpless.

Cradled warm in our embrace
the call to grow is
changing them -
Like fresh green shoots
appearing on a vine.
Like skin-stretched hopes
breaking forth
to make reality 
from dreams.

We are all
so vibrantly alive
with potential
that only God
can fully see.
Faith-walking can feel like a long, arduous climb up a very steep hill or a continual circuit around the base of a mountain - will we ever get to the top or find a new direction to go in?
The walking by faith and not by sight part can feel like being in a long dark tunnel with maybe a tiny pinprick of light up ahead to see the way out.
Human eyes and heart would give up hope. But as God equips us with His way of seeing - Spiritual eyes and heart - can 'see' the final outcome and thank God for it even before it happens
I'm continually working on that one and discovering the more I let go of fear (the opposite of faith) and trust God for the outcomes, the more faith rises in my heart with each experience.

"God is doing far more behind your back than in front of your eyes" ~ Paul Scanlon

God's word reminds us of where our focus should be:
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal"   
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16 - 18 (emphasis added)
We long for what we sense - hear, feel, touch, taste and see.

God longs to produce Christ-likeness in and through us - no matter what that may take.
Pause to ponder:
How are you exercising faith?
What helps or hinders its growth?

In this post I am linking up with Missional Women Faith filled Fridays

If you would like to read more on the Grace Note series or other writing, do stay in touch.

You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Let's start at the very beginning

In the words of the song  'Do-Re-Mi' from the 'Sound of Music':

"Let's start at the very beginning
A very good place to start.
When you read you begin with A-B-C.."

The new alphabet of activity I am learning for this year begins with - 'A' for Attending

My priority is:

  • To attend to God's voice
  • Listen well
  • Respond with prompt obedience instead of the usual vacillation 
  • Run to the throne not the phone
  • Make prayer less of a monologue and more of a dialogue
Sounds impressive. Gulp! Making and reading this list is one thing; carrying it out is quite another. I know my own wayward, easily distracted heart and I don't expect to be able to do these things perfectly at all.

Bad habits don't change overnight. Good habits take at least 21 days to establish. Baby steps one step at a time is the way forward.

In doing so I'm in pursuit of my God-sized dream for 2013:

'To draw closer to God and discover His specific plan for me creatively and personally'

 This week I am challenged to "Do one thing to move forward" in my goal. Scripture challenges me with these verses as I attempt to live out what I aim to achieve:
"So if you're serious about living the new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up and be alert to what is going on around Christ - that's where the action is. See things from His perspective" ~ Colossians 3:1 - 3  The Message (emphasis added)
So what will it mean to 'attend' to God?
  • Wait on
  • Be present
  • Go regularly to
  • Give attention to
  • Listen to
  • Apply oneself
  • Direct one's mind and efforts towards
  • Be a companion
My one thing to move forward in my goal is:

Starting my day with reading 'Jesus Calling' by Sarah Young accompanied by 'Prayer Journal - Developing a Conversation with God' by Joyce Huggett. (Okay, 2 things really but they link together!)

The book by Sarah Young was a requested Christmas gift and I had no idea what a beloved treasure it would prove to be. Sarah shares her personal messages from the Lord over a period of time, with Bible verses linking to the theme. Many of these messages are speaking greatly into my life too. I yearn for her experience:
"The practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline.." ~ Sarah Young in 'Jesus Calling'
I am using the Prayer Journal's 'Prayer Jottings' section - which Joyce notes as "a place for recording prayer jottings where we write to God and He writes to us" (emphasis added) to record my conversations with God as He speaks to me in various ways from scripture, music, conversations with others, glimpses of His glory around me, art and literature, and personal words tenderly spoken directly from His Father heart to my heart.

So far I have been amazed at the amount of words which the Father is pouring into my life and equally ashamed at how little I listened before - to my detriment.

I'd like to close with a prayer by Ken Gire:

"A Prayer for Grace"

Thank you, God,

For those moments in my life
when You opened a window
and offered a word
that nourished the hunger in my soul.

Give me the grace to realize
that these are the words I live by,
not by bread alone
whatever form that bread may take
however satisfying it may seem at the time.

Give me grace to live not just reflectively but receptively,
that I may not only notice when a window is opened
but also receive what is offered,
understanding that what is offered
is my soul's daily bread.

©KenGire1996 from 'Windows of the Soul'

Pause to ponder:

What is capturing your attention this year?

Is God asking you to prioritise your activities?

In this post I am linking up with Holley Gerth's God-sized Dream. 

I am grateful to have the company, encouragement and support from Holley, her team and the wonderful women also participating in this journey. Do join us!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Grace Notes:Appreciation

Welcome. Draw up a chair and pour yourself a coffee as we share this time together. One of my great pleasure in life is to share a coffee with a friend. 

As someone who is rarely well enough to leave the house, it is a lovely treat to spend time enjoying a 'coffee and catch up' session.

I enjoy the natter more than the coffee, to be honest.
Time away from my own four walls stops me going 'stir-crazy'. It lifts my spirits.

We all need to have things in our lives that make us appreciate the good and focus our minds on the positive rather than negative elements - which are all to easy to spot and get dragged down by.

This Grace Notes series is a way to bring to remembrance God's goodness toward us in all things.

Do you remember, or maybe still practise, saying 'Grace' as a 'Thank you' for meals?

One of the first 'Grace' forms I was introduced to as a child was this simple rhyme below that we used to sing in nursery school:

World So Sweet
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God, for everything.

I remember drawing out the last line as 'Aaaameennnn' with great relish.

Its very simplicity brought an awareness to my heart that Somebody had provided the things we were about to consume and, hopefully, enjoy. They didn't materialise out of thin air

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" ~ James 1:17

Life is a gift and we need to treasure it as such. God provides the common grace whereby we can all enjoy the simple pleasures of life around us.

To reaffirm the good things in my life I've dusted off my long-neglected journal and deliberately chosen to record only those things I am thankful for at the close of the day. This can be a challenging, mind-stretching task at times but it is already reaping positive benefits in my thought-life at least.

More thoughts on gratitude for life's blessings:

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has" ~ Epictetus

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in the quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return" ~ Mary Jean Iron 

In developing an 'Attitude of Gratitude' it helps to write down the things we are grateful for. Although I may not be actively joining Ann Voskamp's "Joy Dare" this year, I am taking on the spirit of it instead.

Here are a few things I am grateful for - (with family and friends taken as read, naturally).

  • A life-long love of reading books that may have sprung from seeing my mother escaping into the pages of novels, blue smoke curling from her hand and lips, housework and children ignored and unseen, meal before her (OK to read up the table then?) and utterly engrossed as she shut out the world around her. My aunt Madge was a prolific reader too who lived in chaotic splendour, amidst a sea of papers and books, and whose great charm was the possession of a 'mini library' in her own home that I greedily plundered and devoured as a child, with her happy compliance. Books have been my escape, refuge and a healing balm throughout my life.
  • Being able to express myself in poetry enables me to pour out my deepest thoughts, concerns and desires in a way that brings release and relief. If other people enjoy reading it then that's a great and unexpected bonus. It stayed hidden away for several years, both literally and metaphorically, as I struggled with many issues and failed to remember (or even know how) to begin again. With the creative juices flowing once more over the last few months, I have felt brave enough to keep writing, delve into the archives at times, and share the results here.
  • Chocolate - but of course. What woman isn't grateful for this lovely delicacy? I attempt self-control and indulgence by allowing myself a couple of squares of dark (we're talking 70% minimum) chocolate daily as part of a balanced diet. Who am I kidding? I just love the taste, the way it melts in the mouth, the...well, you get the picture.
There are many other things. This is just a small example.

But I'd love to hear from you:

What do you have reason to be thankful for right now?
How do you maintain an attitude of gratitude?

In this post I am linking up with Missional Women Faith-filled Fridays

You can keep up with future posts by signing up to e-mail, subscribing by RSS feed or connecting with me on Facebook.

I would love to carry on our conversation. Speak again soon!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Priorities: Pursuing my God-sized Dream

To do or not to do? That is the question.

Deadlines loom. Priorities assume importance.

Putting First Things First is essential. No procrastination or prevarication now.

But how do we know what to prioritise in the everyday run of life?

Our 'To Do' list may be enormous yet never get much ticked off it.

Over the last few weeks when physical health problems have been more pronounced, prioritising and pacing have become more important to me than ever. I'm still learning the lesson the hard way.

Although I've enjoyed getting involved with social media in recent months and really treasure the friendships I've made and support I've gained, it has also taken a lot of time and energy I cannot always afford to expend. 

I've also noticed other areas of my life suffering from neglect. The dusty journal stares reproachfully at me as I favour tweeting and blogging to share my thoughts instead.

There are enough books (physical and e-copies) in my house to stock a mini library but many go unread as the majority of my 'reading' is composed of other people's messages, blogs and poetry on-line rather than books.

My own writing and poetry suffer by way of comparison with that of others (never a good idea!) or from a lack of energy, drive and motivation once I've read such a lot elsewhere - inspiring as much of it is.

Extended family and friends in general rarely get a look in either as I lack the necessary health, strength or fitness required to visit them and often find phone calls too taxing; such is the way with M.E. and chronic illness. And - most urgently - Where is God in all of this?

Something has to change and soon. 

When there is a medical need for resuscitation then the ABC's come into play: 

  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation

How do I resuscitate a dying inner life? What should my priorities be? Perhaps a new A-B-C is called for?

Since this New Year has commenced I have been reminded to seek God's wisdom first and foremost. 

To help me assess what God is asking me to do and be this year, I am connecting with Holley Gerth's 'God-sized Dream'  exploration.

I have many thoughts, goals and desires for this year, especially writing projects. 

Any one of them could have been chosen to be the one I focus on as all would be God-sized dreams requiring His enabling and equipping. 

Yet, I sense God is asking me to go back to basics with Him before I can move forward with any of my plans.

Then He can implant His dream within me as I pay attention to Him.

With that in mind:

My God-sized dream goal is: 

To draw closer to God and discover His specific plan for me creatively and personally

My new A-B-C  is beginning to look like this: Attending - Being - Committing

What will this look like in reality? I'm not too sure yet. What I do know is that I am ready to make the journey and anticipate ups and downs along the way! More will be revealed in the weeks ahead as I add detail to each A-B-C.
"We can only do what we are able to do; but inspired by the Spirit it's always a beautiful thing in Jesus' sight" ~ Joni Eareckson Tada
The aim is to start to show healthy Vital Signs of God at work in my life as more of His life is worked in and through the way I live - to His praise and glory. This is the hoped for end result:

"You will become courageous. You will have victories you never thought possible. And you will be filled up with what you really need, which is less of you and more of Jesus in your life" ~ Holley Gerth
A Closing Prayer to reflect on:

"May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever. 
Amen" ~ Hebrews 13:20 - 21

I'm linking here with Holley Gerth and friends as we explore our God-sized dreams. Do take a look. It is not too late to get involved! The more the merrier. 

We can encourage, support, uphold and commiserate with one another as we delve into all God has for us this year and our attempts to live it out.

I'd love you to join me on this journey and contribute your own thoughts too.

You can also connect with me here on Facebook or here on Twitter.