Friday, 31 May 2019

When Daddy is there

Last night we noticed a tiny baby bird in our paper recycling box. He was scared, cold, alone and probably hungry. My husband took the baby bird and popped him in the middle of our patio where we could see him and Malcolm retreated to indoors. We stood for ages watching the little fella who looked so forlorn and chilly. We searched the internet for advice on blue tit fledglings and what to do if they fall from the nest. Last weekend we sat in the garden listening to the cheeps of the babies in their nest as we watched the parents fly back and forth with food. Now we stood in our kitchen with a side window open to the sound of silence. The nest was quiet; the fledgling weak and weary; he offered a rare feeble cheep.  As we searched the internet for advice it all said not to worry if you had touched it or moved it - the parents aren’t affected by the smell but leave the fledgling alone and the parents will come. You may not see them but they will be watching and will hear their little one.

Fifteen minutes passed - the tiny bird looked so little, weak, hungry and cold. Our hearts desperately wanted to help; to make it all ok, to feed the little one, to warm him up but our web searches and our heads knew we weren’t equipped to help this little’un.  And then from out of nowhere Daddy bird appeared - he saw what was needed and immediately flew for food and returned within what seemed seconds. For the next 10 minutes we watched ‘Daddy’ as we called him (although it may have been Mummy :) ) ; fly backwards and forwards with food, after food, after food. With each visit the be-draggled, forlorn little fledgling seemed to improve. He wasn’t shivering anymore, he started to stand a bit taller, his strength renewed; he hopped off to behind a nearby flower pot. With every visit you could feel both our relief and the relief of that parent bird.  We saw the fledgling now situated somewhere safe for the night, fed, warm and being cared for.

This little event got me thinking about our Abba Father. Sometimes we feel isolated, weary, at the end of our resources, we don’t know where to to turn or who can help us. Perhaps others around us want to help but aren’t equipped to help (just like us with the fledgling). What we need is Daddy, our Abba. Perhaps our cries feel feeble, weak or pitiful in the sheer expanse of our situation but just as the internet said about the fledgling's parents - you may not see them but they are there and watching; they will hear their little one! So it is with God we may not see Him but be assured He is there, He is watching, He will hear and He will fly to your side. Song of Songs (chapter 2: 8) talks about the Lover of our Souls leaping over mountains to get to us; to be with us. Wowzers! That is amazing He comes swiftly, eagerly, nothing will get in the way of Him coming to our aid, to caring for us, for restoring us, for refreshing us, for energizing us, for strengthening us, for reviving us! When it feels like there is nowhere to turn and you sit be-draggled on the massive expanse of the patio of life; where there is nowhere to turn, where hope feels gone and weakness seems huge.  At that point know your Abba is watching, listening, hearing your every feeble cry. He knows what you need! Call out to Him, look for Him and surely He will answer with the very care, tenderness, strength, wisdom and love of a parent who wants the best for His children.

Friday, 24 May 2019

He Knows Me

Recently I had a birthday.  My husband, Malcolm, whisked me away for a brief 24 hour holiday.  Three weeks earlier I had commented to him that I wasn't looking forward to my birthday.  There were a number of reasons for this but by the end of the conversation that night we had plans hatched to both take the day off work and enjoy my birthday by doing something together for the day.  Over the next few weeks his plans grew, accommodation booked and anticipation of a fab day or so mounted.  It was set to be a great birthday with the two of us taking some time out of what is a really busy season.

Not only did we pack clothes, food, bottle of sparkling wine but we also took along a little stack of cards and a few gifts.  On my birthday morning I opened a few cards and some gifts from my sister and some friends.  It was so special.  But then Malcolm presented me with a gift bag with numerous presents in it.  He laid them out on the footstool where we were staying.  My heart melted he had chosen and wrapped gifts for me which I had no clue about.  I knew he would not have had any opportunity to shop; so I knew he had planned gifts for a while via internet shopping and delivery to his workplace. What sat in front of me wrapped in cheery bright paper almost didn't matter - what I knew was my busy husband had taken time to plan, purchase and get items delivered in time.

After every gift I opened I was amazed at the thought he had put in - items he knew I needed, wanted, would use, would love, would treasure.  My eyes welled up and a tear rolled down my cheek.  Malcolm put his head to one side 'what's up?'  My reply came 'I am just so blessed' - I went on to explain to Malcolm that what shone through out of my little stack of gifts was how much he knew me.  From jewellery to a phone cover, from an umbrella to an ornament - some items personalised or selected due to a specific reason.

For the last few days that phrase of 'He knows me' has been running through my head - yes -  brought on by what happened on my birthday but over the last few days it has been in respect of God - 'HE knows me' - the Lord knows me.  The reality that the Almighty God knows me - this thought has blown me away.  Amidst all of our struggles, questions, problems, situations on this planet the level of personal care and personal interest God has in us is just completely amazing!  It's just awesome!  There are no words to fathom it completely and my pea sized brain finds it so hard to comprehend:in the midst of my battles - He knows and He is interested.

Think about it for a moment - in the vastness of the Global, eternal situation He knew that we needed a Saviour.  In the intimate setting of a marriage - He has known and provided at times when we have not known where to turn or how we would meet a certain bill or need.   In the personal situation of grief; He has known times where we needed a fresh start and shown us the way.  In the day to day work situation of praying 'please God help me with this phonecall;' the times I have known He has prepared the person I was calling and the call has gone a million percent better than I thought it would.  Those times when I have needed a hug, a word of encouragement, a friend to text, a person to roll up at my door with flowers, a letter in the post, someone I can trust to simply ask 'how are you?' Unprompted things have happened - did they happen by coincidence? - I think not!  I truly believe God knows me and He knows me to the extent that He would prompt someone to pick up their phone or walk over and give me a hug.

I know what I am like - with some things or some people I can't keep it in - I will just say it or react to it or talk about it BUT I also know that I am someone that will muster all my strength to put on the mask and not show some folks where I am really at.  I am a mixed one - but you know God sees beyond the mask; He knows me.  Some times He will remind me that He knows me better than I know myself. Ha ha! It's true.   Not too long ago in the middle of the night God spoke really clearly into my heart - I was struggling over something and it was almost like God was smiling over me as He spoke clearly reminding me of something He knew about me and my character.  The reality is that He knows me.

Dear friend - dwell on that for a moment or two - He knows you.  God knows you.  He really knows you. He knows every joy, every sorrow, every worry, every heart ache, every dream, every discouragement, every disappointment, every tear.  He knows you - He knows your temperament, He knows what you can cope with, He knows what you find easy, He knows what you struggle with.  He knows your character, He knows your heart, He knows your mind.  He knows you physically - your frame; how you were built - where you may need healing or restoration - he knows.  He knows you.  He knows you HE knows you, He KNOWS you, He knows YOU.  Each of those 'caps locked' words is worth emphasizing for a moment.........

HE knows you - the Lord, God, The Maker of Heaven and Earth, The Alpha and Omega, the Almighty One, the One seated in Heaven with all of Heaven worshipping Him right now, this God, this Lord - HE knows you!

He KNOWS you - His knowledge of you is not guessed - it is true, fact.  What He knows of you is not what you put up; the front or mask you wear - it is the truth - the depths, the innermost thoughts and feelings.  He doesn't guess about you - it's certain!  There is no hiding!  Psalm 139 uses the most extremes of heights and depths to explain that wherever we go - He is there.  In the largest and deepest of extremes - He KNOWS you!

He knows YOU - yes you [insert your name right here!]; He knows YOU - yes YOU.  Of course we know God is the God of the World, the Universe, the hugeness - but He is also the God of the intimate, the closeness, the Abba Father heart, the friend closer than a brother, the Lover of our Souls, the one who stores our tears, the One who took time to be with the least, loved the smelliest, the lowest, the despised, the unclean, the unworthy, the sinner, the meek, the broken, the grieving, the marginalized, the unfaithful, the oldest, the child.  Time and time again in the New Testament we see Jesus loving the one in front of Him, knowing the one in front of Him and just what they needed.  Hey people - Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever - therefore - He still loves the one in front of Him, He knows the one in front of Him - right now today hear afresh these amazing words and speak them over your life, your situation, speak over it all - HE KNOWS ME!

Tuesday, 14 May 2019


Well I haven't blogged for AGES - there are many reasons that I won't bore you with but there has been stuff stirring in my heart for weeks and so here I am after work sat at a keyboard.......

Over recent months there have been many tears, many moments of taking time to get that courageous face on, of stopping before I open the door to go out of the house and reading the verses expertly positioned to muster strength for the next thing before I step in front of anyone.  A brief moment sat in the car to pray that I would love well the person in front of me, to bless those around and to encourage those that I see whilst knowing on so many levels my heart is in pieces.  Courage to worship, love others and be a blessing at the same time as working through so many different thoughts and situations in my head and in life.  I am constantly encouraged that God uses the weak things of the World - we don't have to have it altogether, be completely sorted, be on top of everything in order for Him to use us.  To step into our weakness and say 'ok God here I am use me anyway'.  Spurgeon said something along the lines of  "God does not need our strength He has more than enough of that Himself; He needs our weakness - that He can use in His mighty hand."

So amidst brokenness and my musings in recent times let me share a few wee thoughts.  One of our favourite TV programmes at the moment is a programme called 'The Repair Shop' we don't see it very often but sometimes we do or we get to watch it on catch up.  For those who haven't seen it: people take items that are broken to this specialist barn where they fix it.  The items are usually old and usually hold a great deal of sentimental value being links to long passed family members or conjure precious memories for people.  The stories behind the items are often emotional and it isn't unusual to find me or my husband, or both of us, in tears as people recount the story, the person or the memory behind the item.

Very often the items looked like they are useless, worthless, that they should be headed to the bin or just discarded.  This is where my thoughts kick in - I often feel like that; beyond repair, not worth a thing, not worth bothering about, useless, worthless and ready for the nearest trash can....... but what happens at this repair shop on TV.  The item is passed to the person with the right skills - metal worker, leather worker, expert sewers, wood workers and even sometimes skills are combined.  As I have watched this programme I have been struck by various things over these master craftsmen and craftswomen.
1.  They take their time.
2. They know exactly what the item needs and how to restore it.
3. When support is needed during repair they will build or set something to hold the item.
4. They take extreme care.
5. They know the story behind it from the owner and so they care and they show it.
6. Their skill knows the tools to use or when tools are to harsh they may work by hand.

All these things got me thinking about how God handles us in the midst of our own brokenness. When we come to Him broken, battered and bruised. When we come with our hurt, our questions, our pain, our feelings of worthlessness.  At this very point THE Master Craftsman, THE Creator, THE Lover of our Souls, THE author of salvation takes His time with us, knows exactly what we need, knows the support needed, knows the care required, knows the full story behind every scar, pain, heartache and broken piece, His skill as He takes us into His hand and lovingly touches the areas where healing, restoration and reassurance are needed.  We can trust our lives with His skills. 

I know some have talked to me about the amazing art of Kintsugi where gold is used to repair broken items.  Where after repair the item is more beautiful and more valuable.  How precious is that.  Surely there is no one better to handle our brokenness than the Lord God - the Maker of the Heavens and the Earth; the Sustainer of it all.  His Creation is merely the outer fringes of His amazingness - so today as I sit here pondering brokenness I know that the Master Craftsman has hands that are strong enough to fling stars into space and at the same time gentle enough to wipe away my tears.  When others do not understand where you are at, where your questions are ones that can't be asked, where your brokenness is raw and your heartache is painful - take heart that He knows and He cares.  His intimate love for you is truly mind-blowing but is something we have to grasp in order to trust Him with all the pieces.  The late Warren Wiersbe said 'God can heal the brokenhearted if all the pieces are given to Him.' So lay all your brokenness on the wooden cross and remember - by His stripes we are healed.  By His hands we are restored; by His touch we can know strength for today and tomorrow.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Earth’s Unique Opportunity

Anyone that knows me knows that I love worship. There is something so precious about singing wonderful truths to my awesome God. There is something about old hymns and new songs peppered with glorious truths that cannot fail to help me shift my gaze from the worries of this life to the splendour of God.  In the early hours of today I was struck again by lines from the old hymn Amazing Grace - I played it on You Tube letting the words and truth wash over me afresh.

I have been reminded again recently of the unique opportunity that this planet offers us- an opportunity to worship amidst heartache, pain, tears, grief, hard times - whatever faces us. In that moment to step before God with all that stuff happening and lift our hands in simple adoration that He remains the same whether we are laughing or grieving - that His characteristics have not shifted with our mood- that He remains good, faithful, just, loving, ever-present. It has been a deeply precious truth that Malcolm and I have held on to over many years from Hebrews 13:8 which in truly glorious simpleness states ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.’  His unshifting unchangeableness sets my pea brain alight with wonder!

So why is this earth’s unique opportunity?
In this world we will have trouble, sadness, hardship but Revelation 21:4 tells us that in eternity that He will wipe every tear from our eyes (on a side note - I love that the hands that flung stars into space are gentle enough to wipe away tears). Sorry for the wee tangent but love that every time I read that verse! Back to Rev 21:4- He will wipe away every tear, there will be no death, no mourning, no crying, no pain and I imagine no hardship - our worship will be pure delight - it won’t be a painful sacrifice that is costly. I am reminded of the three mighty warriors who battled hard for water and when they presented it to David who realised all that had gone in to obtaining it; he poured it out in worship.  The woman with the expensive perfume another costly sacrifice - in 2018 our sacrifice of worship can be costly as we stand in our struggles and amidst it all lift our hands to the One who deserves all our worship. But when we get to Heaven there won’t be the struggles, heartache or grief to worship in the midst of!

So dear friend whatever you face right now; take heart, take courage and lift your hands to praise Him - this is a unique opportunity that you won’t have in eternity!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

I love you to the earth and back

A few years ago I was going through a really tough time. My husband brought me a canvas for our bedroom which says  "I love you to the moon and back."  He told me that it was a permanent reminder that he loved me even when he wasn't around.  Every morning I look at this canvas and know that even if he has left already for work that he loves me.  It's a great visual reminder.

This week I was getting ready for the start of a normal working day when I glanced up and saw that picture and those words....... it was almost as though I heard the Lord speak to me in that moment 'I love you to the earth and back'.   This week I shared with the youth at church why I love Christmas so much. That Christmas speaks to me of the outrageously bonkers plan of salvation where Jesus came to Earth. Where God didn't send a super hero with awesome supersonic amazing powers complete with cape but sent His Son, Jesus, as a wee baby 100% reliant on his mother for care, for needs. That Jesus the very Saviour of this World walked this planet and can identify with the everyday things that we experience just blows my mind.

This phrase 'I love you to the earth and back' resonated with me this week. That God loved me enough to send Jesus to this planet, to walk this earth, to give it all on the cross, to take all the punishment I deserved and then return to Heaven and send His Holy Spirit to help me with my walk on this earth. Truly an outrageous plan of grace, love, salvation and sacrifice. So blessed. So loved. So amazed.

Monday, 5 June 2017

House of Healing

Recently we have been decorating.  We moved to our home nearly 5 years ago and this is the last major decorating we need to do.  When we brought the house it was in a state of much needed modernisation and some tender loving care after some years of the owners struggling with the upkeep.  It has taken us quite a journey to get it to the state it is now.  As we painted walls yesterday I reflected on the  journey that brought us to this house and how God knew it all.  The testimony of our move is one that I felt I should blog - it may be an encouragement to others who are in similar situations where they can't see the end or what God is doing......

Early 2011 and our lives had just been hit by an event that rocked us to our core.  Although there was an element of physical trauma what we didn't realise at the time was the emotional and mental trauma we were going through.  Suddenly from being a relatively confident person I became insular, not everyone saw the change in me but Malcolm did .......... I could not walk around a supermarket if there were lots of people, crowds became a problem with regular panic attacks, some mornings I would wake up and not be able to decide anything - there were countless days where Malcolm would choose every item I would wear that day.  Most weekends we would head out of London to see the countryside - walk in open fields, breath and walk alongside the sea.  If we were out I needed to be able to see Malcolm or know where he was - my confidence was zero!  Evenings would see us return from work and an immediate change into pj's!  We had a builder friend come and put extra bolts on our front door as I found myself scared in my own home - the area we lived in was rough - I witnessed a youth stabbed, our car was stolen from our street, our neighbour was broken into and stabbed in his own home, there were frequent fights and frequent calls to the police.  I felt trapped.   It wasn't long before we realised we needed to move and so our house went on the market.

10 months later we still hadn't sold our house.  My symptoms of not coping were not really easing and Malcolm was literally holding me together.  Work was my saving grace - the one place where my confidence was ok; I knew what I was doing and knew the people around me!  At the time if you had asked me I would have told you I was doing fine; almost not realising how bad things were apart from the fact that with some advice I was now seeing a counsellor who was helping me to manage some of my symptoms from the trauma earlier that year.  It was at this 10 month mark that Malcolm said that he thought we should start thinking that not only should we change our home but we should change the area in which we lived - moving out of London; he was also starting to think that if we didn't sell then we should look at alternatives to just move from our house as soon as possible even if we still owned it.  A few weeks later we looked at 6 houses one weekend that were outside of London.  That weekend we received three offers on our home in London.  It seemed that Malcolm's idea to move out could be the right one!  One of the houses we saw that weekend stood out from the rest and so we put an offer in after negotiating on the price the offer was accepted.

A few months later and we were ready to move but then came the news that the people we were buying from had issues further up the chain and were now not ready to move out.  We were told there would be a few weeks delay.  Our buyer then announced that if we did not sell to her at that time that she would pull out - she was ready to move in! We then made a decision to sell, so we put all our stuff in storage and packed enough for 2 weeks.  Our employer had agreed to give us a room at work for two weeks in which we could live.  The two weeks became three months - I cannot describe to you the questions we had in those months - had we got it wrong?  Had we made the wrong decisions? The feelings of being homeless and concerns how it would all work out were very unnerving.  It was just about to hit the point that we would have to take a massive financial hit in respect of our mortgage when it was all resolved and we could move.  The day we got the keys my sister came with me to pick them up and walk through the front door.  Malcolm was busy at work preparing for a wedding reception the next day.  Even having the keys felt odd as we couldn't move in with work commitments and working out the practicalities of moving stuff from a storage unit to the house were quite baffling!

At the time of preparing to move we were given two words about our new home - one was that it would be a place of healing and the other that the Lord would lead us out to a spacious place [we were given that when the folks didn't know anything about the home we had brought].

Once we got into our new home we started to reflect on those three months of being homeless where we had asked so many questions about what we were doing.  If we had heard right?  If we had made right decisions.  It was only looking back that we realised that those three months God did some powerful things in us in closing doors, in starting some work in us that meant that when we eventually moved that it really was a fresh start with lots of things dealt with rather than bringing them with us to this new home.  God knew what we needed and orchestrated it so that despite us not realising that we had time and space to shut some doors ready for the new day in our lives.

In my old home to see the sky you needed to walk outside and look straight up - you could not see the sky from inside with the way that the house was positioned in respect of other houses.  In our new home I am often caught looking out from the back windows across the garden to the trees in the distance - God really brought us to a spacious place / spacious view!  We saw a change in me - confidence started to return, I began to feel more positive about life and I went from merely surviving to thriving.

5 years on and we are so grateful that God led us to this home to be a place of  healing for us and hopefully for others.  Time and time again we have seen God use our home to help others or bless them.  It is His home - it belongs to Him and we pray that He will use our home for His glory.  BUT at the same time we hold it lightly - if God tells us that He wants us somewhere else then we would happily move - we know that this season in this house as been one where He has used this home to rebuild us as a couple, as individuals, where the beauty of creation has ministered life into weary broken lives, where sunsets, rainbows and storms have oozed with His faithfulness and care.  I praise God for our home.  It has literally been a God-send, a lifeline to both of us!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Everlasting God

This morning at Church we sang a song containing the line 'You are the Everlasting God' and it got me thinking and thinking..............  These days we live in a 'disposable' society when we purchase something we hope it lasts but more often than not it is more to do its job for a season or for the purpose for that time.  When we got married everything was new - folks gifted us wonderful presents for our wedding for our new home.  We were set - towels, plates, furniture etc etc.  But a number of years later and we have found we have had to purchase new towels, we have had our fair share of smashed crockery, we had items that broke down and would no longer work.

We have all seen those television adverts for batteries that go on and on - but you know; there still comes a point when they run out, they expire, no power left.  They are useless and need replacing.

But today I was struck once again by the permanency of God, the fact He will not run out, expire, break, falter or fail.  He will not be replaced by a better model with a superior spec or better design - He is EVERLASTING!  He is amazing - nothing and no one compares to Him there is nothing or no one that will remain as constant as He does!

The dictionary defines the word 'everlasting' as eternal, never-ending, endless, perpetual, undying, immortal, deathless, indestructible, immutable, abiding, enduring, infinite, boundless, timeless - that is my God, that is the King of  Kings - indestructible - wow - everlasting God!!!!  Dwell on that for a moment and surely your view of Him will just get greater and greater!!!!