Friday, 30 August 2013

When you're in transition

My life is in transition. I'm at an in-between phase and stage.

Walls are crumbling, rocked by Holy Spirit winds and fanned by the flame of God's word.

I can no longer cling to familiar. All feels uncertain.

Days of being locked up in a tight cocoon are ending.

Release is coming.

Something new is being birthed.

And any birth is painful.

New life stretches us.

We know not what waits on the other side of the labour we are in. Fear seizes our throats and paralyses our steps.

Those dry, arid places are being flooded by a water of grace. A healing river to wash clean, revive and restore.

Yet we cling to what we know, stubborn as stains have clung to our souls and soaked into the fabric of our very being. They feel part of who we are.

But God says, "Come. Trust Me. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" ~ Isaiah 43:19

As we cease our protests and resist pulling away, it soon becomes clear that co-operation is called for.

This new thing won't birth itself. The old skin won't shed without our pushing against it. And we can't float free as butterfly when our soul weighs heavy.

Such is the position I am in and it's taking so much energy from me. I am at the point of processing the changes taking place.

I'm still wary, still worn out from my struggles, still not through the other side or quite ready to share what is happening. I hope to be able to do so soon as God leads me.

For a new birth is also great cause for rejoicing and transition is a temporary stage of it.


Emotional pains, wrangling and change have provoked greater physical weakness in me too as the M.E symptoms flare strong under stress.

I didn't feel like I had a clear thought in my head this morning as most of it was spent in bed. Then God gifted me with these unpolished, imperfect words in a poem, asking that I share the present pain in order to eventually share the strength and momentum gained in time to come.

It's written in support of all M.E sufferers who may be in a dry and difficult place right now. 

We have great hope of seeing change as we live the in-between life of sickness and pain with promise of healing to come.

A life obscured

I have a mind made foggy by M.E; mists swirl and cloud around my brain
parting briefly to reveal a glimpse of someone switched on, with-it and urbane.

Some days the clouds hang heavy, low, suffocating clarity of thought and meaning.
Other days they shift and a dazzling rainbow of ideas, expression and creativity break free.

When thoughts are obscured by an M.E fog it's like wading through treacle in my head
sinking deep in mud and treacherous bog as I strive to retrieve words sitting stiff as lead.

Wanting so much to be clear in my mind yet dredging hard in sludge for a hidden pearl
of wisdom, or words of any kind floating in the ether, out of reach in the swirl.

It's clutching at straws, grabbing at air, fatigue sitting dense, heavy and still
so body and mind can't get anywhere despite an extreme effort of will.

Held fast by exhaustion profound it affects every cell, every thought, every limb,
heightening sensitivity to light and sound as muscles ache deep and mind swims.

Eyes blur and ache with effort to read all out of focus, concentration shot
on a go-slow, nothing done at speed, body feverish blowing cold then hot.

A desperate need for rest and peace with communication shut down
requiring silence, dark and ease to avoid total burnout or meltdown.

Struggling through this latest trial with symptoms strong, intrusive,
knowing it could be a while when real improvement seems elusive.

Trusting in God's grace to sustain and see me through
resting in His loving embrace, peace and hope in His word coming true.


"We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly as he knows us" ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12

Yes, it is Friday and I normally participate in Five Minute Friday. But my brain wasn't up to the challenge today. God had other ideas for me.
Hopefully, normal service will be resumed soon!

Meanwhile, please feel free to share how God may be working in you, emotionally, spiritually or physically. Let's try to support and encourage one another in the challenges we are facing.


Monday, 26 August 2013

Having that Monday morning feeling?

On a Bank Holiday, many will breathe a sigh of relief as they silence alarm, turn over and allow themselves the luxury of a little snooze, knowing that they can do so with an easy conscience.

Yes, it's Monday. But school's out. Office is closed. Work can wait for another day. This a moment to savour. Freedom beckons. 

And they rise (hopefully at a time of their choosing) to face a day with choices, potential and liberty from the norm.

A day awaits to spend time with the family and loved ones, or to pursue interests, hobbies, chosen activities instead of facing the daily grind.

Or maybe just an opportunity to sleep more, rest, relax, and be still for a while.


What if that understandable 'Monday morning feeling' of being low and blue is still there? What if it never really leaves us?

Sometimes, holiday times can magnify our innate misery as we expect to feel better than we do. How can we feel so bad when this is meant to be a period of relaxation?

With less focus on the mundane, with inability to lose ourselves in the everyday toil, with expectation of enjoyment heaped upon us, we may recoil and remember all that disturbs our days and haunts our nights.

Life challenges and stretches us in numerous ways.

We can feel pulled taut as elastic.

Unwinding feels more like pinging and stinging in all directions.

Discouragement rises as we reflect on our days, achievements (or the lack of them), all that fazes and disappoints, all that we struggle with and try to swallow down.

I've had a lot of moments like that recently as hopes, plans and expectations for the Summer months have been eclipsed by the reality of hitting rock bottom in health, strength and energy.

And the August Bank Holiday is a stark reminder that Summer is almost at an end. Autumn stands hovering at the threshold and Winter will creep in without much warning.

With M.E and arthritis symptoms increasing, and pain ever present, it has been all too easy to slide into discouragement, sadness and defeat whenever I compare my inabilities with my desires.

In times like that I forget the tiny steps forward and the ways God is blessing me in other areas of my life.

Progress isn't always a measurable, quantifiable thing, especially not in the spiritual realm. So much is hidden, waiting to be revealed in God's timing.

And that's a familiar trap for many. Maybe you too? With physical and/or emotional burdens and life's challenges multiplying, we can forget the steps forward we have already taken.

Then we fall into making comparisons with others or with our own (as yet unfulfilled) hopes and dreams.

We live with a world view of accomplishments, achievements and success that only succeeds in sucking the life out of us as we struggle to fit the mould.

This a surefire way for the enemy of our souls to attempt to render us ineffective, worn out, weary and burnt out.

Here, I present a poetic depiction of those feelings in sympathy and empathy for all who may have been or currently are in this position.

As you read and reflect, please feel free to share your thoughts and leave a prayer request if you would like to.

In lifting one another in prayer we can offer great support and encouragement.

A lonely tent

'Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God' ~ Psalm 42:5

Discouragement is a place where I dwell and
know all of its distinguishing features so well.

Walls papered over with disappearing dreams,
unmet goals, dashed hopes and failed schemes.

As I sit within its suffocating frame, low
deep in my soul sit defeat, sorrow and shame.

No-one can stand here strong, tall as tree
for all is brokenness, sadness, no taste of victory.

Instead,we lie drooping with disappointment, having
nothing to raise head or spirit when bowed with discontent.

Everything dark, dim, blurred and grim
with senses heightened only to pain within.

Despair and depression hover close by, seeking
admittance to steal, kill and destroy.

And our gloom sits heavy as stone when this
place feels familiar like a second home.

A room with no view, no brightness, no light,
where we cower a while, out of reach, out of sight

of all that's good, warm and familiar, our eyes unable
to see beyond broken hopes as we drown in worry and fear.

Where is the Door?
Where is the Light?
Where is The Way?
An escape from this continual night.

Until a Hand reaches out to hold our own
saying, “Child, this place is not your permanent home.
Come with Me. Open your mind and heart to receive
My Love and the guidance My Word will impart.

And a chink appears as our armour slips and a cry
of recognition falls from our lips as we stumble

and fumble our way through the dark, looking for
The Light and The Way to walk

knowing deep down as we take God's hand
that His home is where we really belong

and can stand strong against the discontent
that pulls us down with anguished heart and furrowed frown.

Closing the door on discouragement for now, we rise
to face the day away from this lonely tent

with faith that this too will pass and this place
we visit will become history at last.


Please remember, you are not alone.

You don't have to suffer in silence.

Help is at hand for all of us.

God is only a breath, a prayer away.

And, hard as it might be to believe right now, we can rest in the knowledge that 'This too shall pass'.

Our circumstances may not improve, but we can learn how to react to them in a more positive, less self-defeating way.

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken" ~ Psalm 62:1-2


Friday, 23 August 2013

Living in the upside-down kingdom

Welcome to the challenging creative writing exercise that is Five Minute Friday.

Here we watch words fall as they will and try to catch them on the way, pinning them to page before they are lost.

It's always a nice surprise to read back and see how we have been inspired in a limited time frame with a one word prompt.

Today's prompt is:'Last'


Seen from above

Look up...

You may be drowning in a mountain of debt
living in a lonely tent of discouragement
worrying about how to survive today, never mind tomorrow
uncertain how to pray when sick, full of grief or sorrow
concerned about how your many needs can be met


Nothing we see here is permanent
there is a way to live and love, even when
you feel drained and empty, dry with thirst
for in the upside-down kingdom the
 first will be last and the last first
as heavenly life seen from below
is very different viewed from above

Hold on...

Even when you feel you cannot last another day
for this too shall pass in time to come
and these circumstances won't always hold sway
Don't let the world make you weary 
and sad as you listen to its mournful
dreary tune in your head

Take hold...

of the promises in God's word
the ones you have received and heard
as He speaks to your heart.
You may feel you're at the end of your rope
bottom of the pile and out of hope
but He sees you by His side, forever loved, 
cherished, a winner - not disqualified


Linking here with Lisa-Jo Baker and the other Five Minute Friday participants.

You are warmly invited to join in. 

All you do is set the clock, write for 5 minutes, join the link-up and read the post next to yours (and more if able) so that we can encourage one another. 

No worry about perfection, over-thinking or editing.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Letter to tuck in your pocket

Receiving hand-written letters in the mail is a rarity these days. 

When we are eagerly waiting to hear from a loved one, then it is even more special.

Words are devoured. Sentences savoured. Lines linger in our minds.

And we read them over and over again, unwilling to put them down or away.

So we tuck the letter in a secret place away from prying eyes, ready to return to at our leisure and enjoy it all over again.

Have you ever thought about God's word being like a personal letter to our souls?

We benefit from seeing it as such.

The Bible is His love letter to reassure, comfort, speak truth, grace and light into our darkness.

Words of affirmation, encouragement, help, healing, hope, forgiveness and mercy.

Words that change lives, restore, transform, teach, guide, give wisdom, strength and peace.

Who wouldn't want such a letter?

And as we make our journey of faith, God continues to pour forth words we can tuck away into our pockets, hearts and minds. 

They may be direct from the Bible as words seem to come alive for us as we read them. Or they may be words He whispers close any time when we are receptive or have paused specifically to listen to Him.

God's love and ability to express Himself are inexhaustible.

During this year, I've been greatly blessed by hearing personal words from God that have helped me tremendously. I sense they're not all meant for me alone.

Maybe my slow, tortoise-like life has equipped me to be still long enough to hear them, or maybe He has opened my ears to listen better to His voice than I could before.

I call them 'Prayer Whispers' and I'd like to share some with you here. They are words I have tucked into my Prayer Journal and my heart and mind.

Prayer Whisper:Change and renewal

"Change and renewal also require a mourning process. Until you can let go of the old ways of doing, thinking and believing, your arms and heart are too burdened and weighed down to receive the new.

It is a process of trust and faith. Relinquishing the old can make you feel empty, lost and confused because you cannot yet see the things I have in mind to replace what you have surrendered.

In the Divine Exchange I will pour more of Myself into you as you make space for me to do so. You won't be left empty-handed. Rather, you will be set free to receive and have an abundance to give out to others.

Listen to what My Spirit is saying to you. Heed My voice. My desire is to bless you, not to harm you, to give you hope and a future."


Prayer Whisper:Living with challenging circumstances

"Take courage. Though your circumstances may not be as you want them to be, trust that I am working in and through them to produce fruit and a harvest of righteousness in your life.

To step away from the crowd and live differently can feel scary, but I never intended for you to follow everyone else. My plan for your life is individual and personal. It is uniquely tailored for what I want to accomplish in your life, who I desire to reach and impact by your example and testimony.

Though it can feel as if you are wearing clothes that don't fit or chafe you, trust that this is all part of My plan. In time you will begin to notice more and more how I am using the very things you fight against to shape you as my precious child.

The cracks and imperfections in your life enable the Light of my glory to shine all the brighter through them. Keep surrendering yourself and every aspect of your life to Me and it will become beautiful in the process."


Prayer Whisper:When you are in a waiting period

"Great patience is needed in the waiting period. Though it may feel like a dark night of the soul where you cannot perceive any light, keep on trusting and believing that I am already acting on your behalf.

However long the night is, remember that joy comes in the morning. In due time you will experience the joy of needs and expectations met as you surrender them to My refining process.

My best work cannot be hurried. Impatience will spoil what I am achieving in you through the waiting process. Do not lose heart or become discouraged.

Seek My presence; rest in confident, child-like trust and faith; stay rooted and grounded in My Word and refreshed and enabled by My Spirit.

Continue to look for the glimmers of grace which remind you I am at work in your life.

My hand is never taken off you for a second.

I watch you as a mother hen broods over her chicks. Nothing escapes My attention either, so be wise how you act and react.

Allow Me to decide when things happen for you and how they happen.

I will always, always love and keep you safe."


My hope and prayer is that these words will bless and encourage you as they did me when I first received them.

If you want to see more 'Prayer Whispers' on the blog then please let me know. They may become a feature here, or even find their way into a book one day!

Meanwhile, you may like to try reading 'Jesus Calling' by Sarah Young, or 'My Dear Child' by Colin Urquhart to see how God spoke personally to them. 

Or you could watch 'Father's Love Letter' DVD - a beautiful depiction of several Bible verses which speak of God's love for us.


Linking here with the lovely Ruth Povey for the 'Letter to' series. This week's prompt is:'Letter to tuck in your pocket'

Over to you:

What letters/words do you treasure up in your heart?

How has God spoken in ways that have blessed and surprised you?

Friday, 16 August 2013

How we can feel insignificant when we're not

Welcome to Five Minute Friday, a great creative challenge where we write free flowing, as it comes, straight from the heart, in the space and time constraints of 300 seconds. No over-thinking, editing or worry about perfection.

It's a period of letting go and letting God inspire us!

I find that the one word prompt often stirs deep thoughts and poetry tends to spills forth.

Today's prompt is:'Small'


You're not small

The world will try to tell you you're small.
Tiny. Insignificant. No mystery.

Yesterday's news. History.
Dirt on their shoes.

Shrinking into insignificance
like Alice and Gulliver
in a world of giants. A sea of faces.

No more noticeable than any other.
So we plead. We shout. Call out. Reveal our need.

And get pushed down. Pressed hard.
Ignored, we shrink back to wall.

My friend, you are not small at all
in your Creator's eyes.

He - delights over you with singing
rejoices at your birth
sees your end from your beginning 
and considers it all inestimable worth.

So much so He gave His life
for you and me
hung, suffered, died
on Calvary's tree.

Now risen, ascended on high
His Holy whispers from above
draws us gently nigh
to a heart heavy with Love

Overflowing with grace
mercy beyond measure
for His chosen people
His beloved. His treasure.

Don't feed into the world's lies.
Lift your head and see yourself
in God's eyes.

The new person 
He is shaping you to be
clothed in righteousness
royal robed child
of worth and dignity.

Joining here with Lisa-Jo Baker at the Five Minute Friday blog link up. 

The deal is to read and leave a comment on the post before your own to encourage one another. You are very welcome to join in.

To stay in touch with my posts you can subscribe by e-mail or find me here on Facebook.

Monday, 12 August 2013

When you're between a rock and a hard place

Have you ever had your own words come back to haunt you? 

It happened to me this week. Not spoken ones, but those I'd written.

Just recently I wrote about how loneliness felt to me as a child.

Memories were stirred and feelings soon followed.

Several weeks ago, I wrote a poem about being set free. 

I felt led to post it on social media a few days ago.

Little did I know how my own words would seriously stir me.

Set me free

Set me free
I no longer want
to be ensnared
by the chains
 of my past or
held fast by fear
for the future.
Set me free
to fly uncaged
in the current 
of your grace
as I release
all that I am
and can be
into your
 loving embrace.

The next day I felt those chains wind tight. And I fought to draw air.

Being blind-sided by your past is a painful place to be in. Isn't the past another country where my visa has expired? Maybe.

We can ignore it, except memories make a return inevitable. Revisiting the ruins. 

Now, vulnerable to feelings I'd forgotten, experiencing afresh pain slicing through me, wounded anew by words in my head, I cower.

No bravery here with a troubled mind returning to deep waters that could drown me.

Only....they won't... if I know how to swim rather than sink under the weight of them.

I have a choice to make - stay stuck in the pain of the past or work through it and move forward.

Thankfully, I also have access to hope and courage beyond myself.

There is an Anchor for drowning souls. We cling to Him when all feels lost and we can barely keep our heads above water deafening in our ears.

I have this to cling to...I have a Saviour who sweat blood to purchase my freedom. I have hope rising phoenix bold from the ashes. I have strength sown in despair. 

When we're between a rock and a hard place there is hope of seeing change when the Rock is Christ.

He provides shelter and protection when the storms of life hit and His steadfast strength gives us resilience to press through mountains of shame, pain, discouragement, disgrace, sickness and dis-ease of every kind.

Faith can move mountains. 

Not faith in my own small, wavering mustard seed faith, but faith in the One who can move mountains.

Yes, even this. No matter how high, how wide, how deep, how immovable it may seem.

The mountain mover stands ready on our behalf.

We have promises from the ever faithful One.

We have knowledge that pain does not last forever, joy comes in the morning and help is only a cry, a breath, a prayer away.

And healing from a painful past is a process, not a one way street with closed access. 

Some wounds may need lancing with the laser of His word. 

Some cuts may need the antiseptic of His grace, a salve to cleanse and soothe.

For we cannot emerge unscathed from those things which cut deep and wound the very fabric of our being, and God has to dig deeper still and rout out what will poison our system if left untreated.

How I have wished never to have been wounded as I was. And, how amazed I am, over and over again, at the way God is tenderly treating those wounds and binding up my broken heart.

My friend, His work takes time, patience and perseverance and we lose heart in the waiting, don't we? Our greatest desire is for overnight transformation. 

But a mighty oak doesn't grow strong overnight and we are called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour ~Isaiah 61:3.

I know how long it can seem when change is so very slow in coming. 

I've felt so discouraged lately and needed every reminder I can get that healing work is taking place. But God never loses heart or hope in you and I becoming all we can be in Christ

All He asks of us (and how huge an ask it can feel) is that we allow Him to show us the painful places and fully co-operate with His work in us one tiny step at a time.

Even as we daily battle fear and struggle to see any progress.

Things are happening in the unseen realm that will become visible one day.

Friend, those mountains may resist, but they are moving inch by inch. And one day we will see the difference. Instead of looming large, our mountain will be a shadow in the distance.

Our journey of faith is wrought through testing, trial and suffering and made all the stronger by the overcoming of them.

One day, you and I truly will be set free and 'fly uncaged in the current of (His) grace as we release all that (we are) and can be into (His) loving embrace'.

For now, we lean hard on the Rock and resist falling apart as He holds us together.


What are you learning in the waiting process?

How do you overcome discouragement?

Let's share our journey of faith together and encourage one another on the way. Don't we all need that?

Please feel free to join in with the comments below.

This post is part of the Journey series that began here. 

To stay in touch with my posts you can join by Google Friend Connect or find me here on Facebook.

Friday, 9 August 2013

How we can feel lonely but are never alone

Welcome to a space and place where there is friendship, companionship and sharing. Here, as I participate in Five Minute Friday, perfection is laid aside and words pour out freely with no over-thinking, editing or worry.

It's a great writing challenge that often stir deep waters from within as memory rises to the surface.

Today's prompt is:'Lonely'



Lonely is a space to crawl into, away from noise and clamour of voices that shout too loud or whisper with hot-breathed closeness, singing a song she has no words for or ability to join in.

A seemingly safe and warm place where dreams dwell and longings lie in soft hushed sighs and tears flow free.

A life peopled by those meant to be family and all but a few are strangers to her heart. 

They push away and reject the essence of her personality and crush her fragile heart as rose petals falling to ground.

She looks hard in all the wrong places for love and acceptance, with resigned willingness to bend to another's idea of belonging and togetherness.

Though a stone sits heavy and sinks inside her as she tastes bitter waters rising.

There is no true belonging here.

Her heart empty with a God-shaped hole crying out for a Saviour.

He comes.

Hands open in offering.

He gives freely where others simply took.

He loves unconditionally.

He fills her heart to overflowing with a new song.

This is Jesus - her Heavenly bridegroom.

She will be His and belong to Him for all eternity.

She may feel alone sometimes, even in a sea of faces, but she is lonely no longer.


Linking here with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. You are warmly invited to join in. Just write your piece, link up and visit the person next to you to offer encouragement and support.

To stay in touch with my posts you can subscribe by e-mail or find me here on Facebook.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Of swans and men

A touching scene.

Mother and babies swimming along serenely.

A riverside walk with glories for eyes to see, though most were glued to a screen.

Walking blind.

Hand, mind and will absorbed by electronic communications.

Totally oblivious to the wonders around them.

Beauty all around in sight, sense and sound.

One watched and wondered. 

He had eyes to notice that there were more cygnets born fluffy-soft, downy-brown and small in the nest than remained close to mother now as they floated along in their watery home.

His sight undimmed to life around. His senses attuned. 

Yet his own appearance meant that others gave him a wide berth.

Nothing fragrant here. Shabby, grass and life-stained clothes hanging loose on his frame.

Scuffed, messy, and marked out by his strangeness. 

A man on the margins. Adrift from the crowd. Alone and apart.

Holding hope and compassion for these creatures in his heart...and a bottle of booze in his hand.

More glinted close by. Fag dangling limp from sweat and saliva-slicked lips.

Heat and odours rising as he moved to settle more comfortably.

Not a man to deserve a second glance. Only a quick glimpse and quicker retreat.

But he saw things other eyes failed to see

Swans afloat with cygnets missing. 

Weeping willows bent double to kiss water.

White poplars bestowing snowy kisses falling like manna on a toddler's upturned face.

Fish frolicking beneath the river's surface.

On the road above, holiday traffic sounds muted, yet there is a discernible hum of cruisers on this floating pathway as they chug-purr soft and slow to aid a tan.

Passersby linger at a bridge spanning sun-drenched path and cool, watery splash beneath.

Dragonflies hover in an iridescently vivid dance.

For there is much to see with eyes wide open

We see how God loves the tramp/wino/hobo (if we care to label folk as such) as much as He loves us.

We see that "there but for the grace of God go you and I".

We see how unprepossessing,stumbling, clumsy, unformed creatures can become white with purity and grace.

Recognising, with awe-struck, thankful hearts, that God deliberately chooses men and women that the culture overlooks, exploits and abuses.

He specialises in making somebodies out of nobodies.

For our fallenness cannot keep us from being beautiful in God's sight 

We can miss so much of life around us if we don't take time to look.

Sometimes it's good to peel our eyes away from the screens of our life and focus them on the colourful canvas of creation which God has given for our enjoyment.

This world is a showcase for His glory.

And we are the pinnacle of His creation.

My friend, you are dearly loved and precious to God. He sees beauty in you, even if you or others fail to.

But His desire is for you to see it too, to sense the potential you have as a child of God.

Take a look in the mirror of His word and breathe deep the sweet promises of who you are in Christ. Savour life-giving,soul nourishing, transformational truth.

Notice the difference it can bring to how you see yourself and others.

In Him you are chosen, special, precious, loved and gifted, a work in progress, being changed from glory to glory, a trophy of His grace, undergoing healing and restoration, and a recipient of His goodness for today and eternity.

I am thankful the man viewing swans had eyes to see beauty in the world around him.

And I'm even more grateful for how God notices us, His hands offering all of life's fullness and potential to you and me.

Linking here with the lovely Sabrina over at Just Keep Singing for the 'Letter to' series. This week's prompt is:'Letter to the one who noticed'. You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in. The link up takes place every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month.

To stay in touch with my posts you can subscribe by e-mail, join with Google Friend Connect, or find me here on Facebook.