Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A prayer for those who are in waiting

One of the hardest things we have to do in life is to wait for things.

As an instant gratification society, waiting seems anachronistic and decidedly unwelcome. 

Shouldn't everything happen straightaway at the push of a button? Not necessarily. The best things in life are worth waiting for.

Waiting on God is challenging. We know He is always busy behind the scenes with bringing His plans for our lives to fruition.

Only, it can all take so long. We wonder if we've been forgotten about.

Our hearts grow weary. Our hope withers and dies. Our faith feels misplaced.

Answers to prayer can be especially hard to hold on for. I've waited for healing (amongst other things) for many years.

My friend, you are far from alone. I know how it feels. And, more importantly, so does God.

He sees, hears, understands and is ready and able to come alongside us in our questioning.

His wisdom and discernment help us to judge when time is ripe to move ahead. So, let's consider our position: have been sitting in the same place so long you've grown roots feel left out, neglected, overlooked, alone

If...seasons come and go and yours has never come

If...others are receiving all the breaks, the kudos, the applause

Then this prayer may be for you...

'A Prayer for those in waiting'

We sit as dormant seeds, 
bulbs brown-ugly 
bursting with promise
of life, beauty, energy, growth, 
sweet fragrance stirring to be released,
buried ~ deep darkness surrounding within, without
in soil that hangs heavy, clinging and clogging,
choking us when we try to rise above it.

Surely we were planted 
with a hope of seeing Spring,
with life and potential welling up within,
with goodness seeking to be expressed
with Your hands guiding us in place
and selecting only best?

If that is so, how can we still be waiting
for our moment to arrive,
for life to erupt from what is sealed,
for transformation and change
for Your glory to be revealed?

We watch, curious, with envy half-concealed 
as neighbouring plants grow green, 
shooting strong and true, 
their foliage shades our light
their colours vivid we can see
and we wonder what on earth 
You have created us to be.

Tangled up in troubles for today 
and shackled by worries for tomorrow, 
muddied by a morass of mishaps
sullied by sickness and sorrow, 
discouraged by dis-ease of every kind
our lives feel barren and fruitless,
our hearts weary and resigned.

Until You call and we bend an ear
to a Voice we long to hear,
the balm for every doubt
the solace for every fear.
This is no accident, my child,
your roots dig deep to draw from wells
of Grace and Love, of Faith and Trust.

If all were easy would it mean so much?
If all were simple would you wait on Me?
If all were quick would you tarry here?
If all was show and substance
would you hang around?
I plant you where in due time I choose
you'll have no thorny ground.

I plant you so that come The Day
you will reflect My Light
your colours will glow bright
working through the soil of pain
pushing up to make a mark 
and bring glory to My Name.

For My best work is done in darkness
slow, but sure and strong.
So don't give up 
and don't despair 
if it all takes so long, 
for I don't give up on you
~ rising strong and true.


"I am still confident of this:I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord' be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" ~ Psalm 27:13-14 
**Confession** ~ This poetic prayer sat dormant in draft form waiting for such a time as this. I had so many areas of life I could have written about for:"You are not alone" {living with M.E and chronic illness, being housebound, overcoming abuse and depression etc.} but God reminded me of this entry and the fact that so many of His beloved children grow weary in waiting to see change.

My hope and prayer is that you will be blessed and encouraged in the reading of it.
And know that you are definitely not alone in whatever you may be going through. 

Joining here with Holley, Michelle, and Jennifer 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Some habits die hard.

They require great persistence, perseverance, prayer, hard work, faith, and an abundance of grace to overcome.

One such habit is that of speaking negatively about ourselves.

How easily we slip in to it.

I can barely register my reflection in a mirror without having to resist the temptation to sigh, frown and groan.

Years of conditioning and believing the wrong things have left their mark mentally, never mind the physical ravages of chronic sickness and signs of sinking flesh as I grow older.

Low self-esteem comes naturally to those who feel "framed, boxed, categorised, sifted, found wanting in society's eyes" and that's quite a few of us for starters.

It's not just about physical beauty (or the lack thereof) either. We can feel ugly on the inside too.

What tends to get forgotten is that we were fearfully and wonderfully made by One who pronounced us perfect in His sight.

God sees beauty in our brokenness and He already sees us perfected in Christ.

He looks at us through the eyes of grace and wants us to see ourselves in the same light.

"Can you trade your criticism for his gentleness and your impatience with yourself for his everlasting care?" ~ Holley Gerth 'If We Could Have Coffee'

Our lives here consist of being changed from glory to glory. 

And the amazing thing is, we have the life and light of Jesus within us by His Spirit. 

It shines with a radiance all of its own as we exchange our ashes for His beauty.

When I saw the topic Holley had given us this week {'You are you are'} I snorted derisively at myself,"Well that's one to miss. What do you know about looking or feeling beautiful?"

And I concede my ignorance.

Who would feel beautiful 'as they are' when most days they wear PJs, have bed-head, no make-up on, look exhausted and ill?

But I am learning.

Learning to silence the inner critic.

Learning to look in the mirror of His word and believe I am who God says I am.

Learning to rise up and refuse to receive any derogatory labels (self-imposed or otherwise), pigeon-holing or negative comments.

And, friend, it's hard work. It's a battle each and every day to have our minds transformed. But it's also worthwhile.

Because if we believe the lie that we are less-than, ugly, worthless, failures, then the enemy is winning the battle in our minds.

God wants us to have that mind in us which is also in Christ Jesus, and that includes seeing ourselves through His eyes as our minds are gradually renewed.

Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder. 

Well, guess who is beholding and pronouncing you beautiful, just as He has since He planned for you to be here? No less a person than God Himself.

We are far more than our appearance suggests. Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.

Our inner beauty? What does that look like? 

A spirit surrendered to God is eternally youthful, ageless, beautiful.

Giving out a glow to warm other hearts and lives. 

A light to dispel darkness.

A heart beating in tune with the One who made us.

An offering of hope, grace and encouragement to others.

And who wouldn't want to be beautiful like that? I know I would.

Accept, believe and receive it, my friend:"You are you are"

Joining here with Holley and Jennifer. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A message we all need to hear

Some of us can wait what feels like a lifetime to hear the words, "I love you" from a person's lips.

Maybe it's a parent whose validation and approval we've never had.

Or a sibling who failed to get over their early resentment of us.

Perhaps you long for these words from a loved one ~ friend, partner, husband, child.

Because who doesn't want to be and feel loved? It's hardwired into our system.

And God knows that. It's why He sent Jesus.

Such love. Such grace. 

This is love way beyond our imaginations ~ total, unconditional love from the One who knows all our faults, flaws and failings yet loves us just the same.

How do I know?

I've looked into the mirror of His word. Seen, read, accepted and believed its truth ~ albeit falteringly at times ~ and lived with its constant presence.

Witnessed it countless times in the countenance of my loved ones; the acts of love, grace and care lavished on this unworthy woman could only be God-inspired.

My heart has expanded to make room for it, and it keeps on growing because this is a love beyond measure that fills the universe itself ~ Uncontainable. Limitless. Eternally giving. 

I've experienced the fathomless forgiveness of it gratefully in my wayward heart. 

Human love is bound to disappoint us at times, wound up as it is in our woundedness. 

Sometimes it feels like sweet nothingness, all candy fluff with no lasting substance.

Deep down we long to know we really matter to someone, we are loved. Hear someone saying, "I love you".

And my friend, even if no-one has said those three magic words to you, God has and will continue to whisper them loud until you believe Him.

Because faith and trust open the door to His Presence.

He will not barge in.

He waits patiently ~ the most ardent Lover of our soul ~ to be given admittance.

The Hound of Heaven pursues us quietly and relentlessly through the years. We matter that much to Him.

God will never give up on you ~ even if everyone else has ~ you can trust Him and His faithfulness.

How does this eternal Love speak to us? In myriad ways. 

In every sight and sound in creation, in the very air we breathe, release and receive, in every beat of our hearts ~ we find solid ground in the things we believe from His word.

My friend, please hear and receive this truth today ~ you are loved far more than you will ever know.

You are precious to the One who engraves you on the palm of His hand, walks beside you every moment, longs to be in relationship with you.

Nothing can separate you from His everlasting love which covers you here into eternity.

He always answers hearts hungry for His Presence

Rest in the revelation that you are outrageously, radically loved by God Himself ~ it will literally change your life.

As you listen to the video below, let it's message hit home and impact your heart with His amazing love.

Joining here with Holley for #coffeeforyourheart and with Jennifer for #TellHisStory

You are warmly invited and encouraged to take part

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Let the flame burn

She was on a mission. Nothing was going to stop her.

Chin lifted high, head in the clouds, determination in every step, pounding the pavement with purpose.

On the cusp of full womanhood, her heart glowed fierce for the lover of her soul.

Scorning fear, she burned with a message to share. Tasting mercy and Love Divine for the first time ~ how could she help but speak about it?

Eyes bright with intent, she breezed her way into clubs and pubs, high school platform, public places, missions.

She was oblivious to hostile stares or rejection, swishing it away like the dress-folds dancing around her boots.

Here hope blazed bold.

Here lay a mind illuminated by Truth and a soul set on fire for God.

And now?

I marvel at her unself-consciousness, her courage, faith and fortitude.

My younger self ~ so secure in the fact she was loved and accepted by her Lord and Saviour ~ braving the boundaries of her time and situation.

All of this came before the catastrophic crash of a mind splintered by a mental health breakdown, until God helped her to slowly pick up and put together each shattered piece.

Before shame, guilt and fear haunted her days and nights.

Before the pressure and stress of life loomed large.

Before the Divine flame within flickered low almost to extinction.

Prior to pain pervading and pulverising her frame.

Before being bound by weakness, sickness and infirmity.

She walked strong. Kept the faith. Yielded all. 

I barely recognise the young woman I used to be. A pang of regret and envy stirs deep.

I yearn for change. I desire for God to light a fire in me again. Let this flicker become a steady flame to warm other hearts and speak of His great love for me.

Maybe you do too?

We can all fall away in word, deed or thought. Give up seeking, asking, hoping, believing.

And now? I long to experience all that God has in mind for me right here, right now. In this Autumnal season of my life let there be a bonfire of all that holds me back. 

God gives us special grace as new believers to walk close and sense His Presence, to have joy in believing and knowing we are saved.

We're on fire and it shows in our faces, behaviour and speech.

Then life intervenes... we falter, become neglectful and forgetful, doubts spring up; our flame becomes a mere spark.

We try to keep going in our own strength instead of relying on His.

But as long as there is even a hint, a faint glimmer of hope, and faith and trust in Him, God ignites the fire again. A smouldering wick He will not quench.

Will you join me in asking Him to ignite a fire again?

'A prayer for change'

Lord of earth, sky and sea
would You ignite a fire in me?
As your Word beams laser-bright
into all-encompassing darkness, to reveal
a shining Light of Truth and purity,
so may I, in my small corner obscurity
be a glint and glimmer to all in sight
of Your great love, mercy, grace and light.

Whether by the words I write or speak
the acts I do throughout the week
all should tell of a burning love for You
that is consistent, deep and true.

And even if I am tired or sick
and my light is a wavering candlewick
I know that when the time is ready
You will make it flame strong and steady
to be a source of warmth to encourage another
weak and struggling sister or brother.

For I don't want to sleep-walk through my days
but I do want to bathe in Your heavenly rays
and to be consumed in all I say or do
by what consumes You

Here's a blast from the past for you ~ The group Parchment singing 'Light up the Fire'. I was privileged to see them perform this live at SPREE {Spiritual Re-Emphasis} Conference just after I became a Christian. I hope you enjoy it too!

A few soul-enhancing, inspiring and firing-up reads to dip into:

'Walking on Water ~ Reflections on Faith and Art' by Madeleine L'Engle


I always find time spent in God's word and in His Presence, plus Christian books and music help fan the flame within.

I'd love you to share what helps to keep the flame alive in your spirit too

Linking here with Nacole for #concretewords where we write out the abstract with a concrete word prompt. This week's prompt is:'Fire'

And with Lyli  for #ThoughtProvokingThursday


And with Mel for #EssentialFridays

You are warmly encouraged and invited to join in.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Why you don't have to hide anymore

Welcome friend.

I'm so pleased you are here.

In this space I want to share coffee for your heart.

Drink in whatever troubles you.

Offer a listening ear and a hand to hold.

Share the things that bless and encourage me.

Be someone you can feel at home with.

So kick off your shoes, pick up your coffee (or tea if you prefer), make yourself comfy and get ready.

We'll share coffee, comfort and encouragement.

Today, I have a letter to write you...

Dear You,
I see the pain you try to hide behind words and smiles, because deep in the windows of your soul you carry a weight of woundedness.

Despite evidence to the contrary, you don't feel truly loved or validated.

Nothing really fills the gaping space where trust, safety and security should be.

It feels easier to erect walls around yourself than allow anyone close admittance to your inner core. Fortifications. Defences. Build them high enough and no mere mortal can scale them.

Until someone reaches out and breaches your defences, and you notice how hedged in you really are.

My friend, this was my life for many years. 

I lived scared. Hid the pain. Refused to recognise how I'd closed off my heart. 

On the surface we can seem fine, in control, content even. On the inside? When we're on our own? We curl away as foetal-curved commas withdrawing from ourselves and the world around.

There is help. There is hope. We don't have to hide anymore. 

God is here. He is ready, willing and able to enter into our pain, help us face the walls; and as we co-labour with Him in their removal..brick by tiny brick...they come down and we are set free.

His unconditional Love ~ is our security.

His sacrifice on the cross ~ the doorway to forgiveness and mercy.

His Spirit within ~ our shelter and safe place.

His grace ~ our enabling and equipping.

His Life ~ becomes as one~ with our life ~ as we open up to Him ~ like a flower to the sun.

These are the encouraging words and thoughts I want you to hear as we start a new year: {and believe me, I need to hear them too}

Absorb the truth of who you are ~ beautiful and beloved.

Know deep in your heart ~ you are safe always.

Hold on ~ to the reassurance that you can be set free.

Feel deeply within ~  you are special, precious to God and loved beyond measure.

Believe ~ you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Fight on ~ whenever the going gets tough. Because God fights for you and will never give up on you. 

Listen to His voice. Hear the heartbeat of God soothing your own. Come close to the throne of grace and find mercy in your hour of need.

Healing and wholeness are there for the taking.

Are you ready? I hope so. It may take time. I'm still very much a 'work in progress' in this area as in many, but we all have to start somewhere. 

This could be the year you open up your heart to all that God has in store for you. 

God's arms of love are reaching out to you, just as we reach out to our own loved ones to hold them safe and close.

I close with today's #smallstone offering {part of the 31 day Mindful Writing Challenge} to bless your heart:

'Arms of love'

"Arms of love encircle me
holding secure and steady
as I finally exhale, release
breathe soft and calm
feeling prepared and ready
to accept and believe
hear and receive
that as beloved arms
encompass round
God's Spirit hovers
without a sound yet
speaking things He wants
to urgently impart
into the very depths
of my insecure heart
saying, "You are safe. You are loved. 
You are beautiful. You are enough.
You are free ~ just trust in Me"

Joining here with Holley and all the other lovely encouragers who want to share 'Coffee for Your Heart'. Do join us next Wednesday for more words of reassurance and encouragement.

Holley has written a lovely encouraging book:''If we could have coffee ~ 30 Days of Heart to Heart Encouragement' that will really help lift the January blues.

And here's a great resource that has aided me in the process of working on removing the walls around my heart and becoming free ~ 'The Wall Around Your Heart' by Mary de Muth.

Also linking with Emily and Jennifer as we seek to write out our #ImperfectProse to #TellHIsStory

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Whispers on the wind

Some sounds rise loud and clear and our senses are alert, heightened to every nuance, change of pitch and tone. 

New parents seek shades of meaning in every utterance their infant makes

My son and his wife are at the stage of learning and interpreting every vocal expression of their month-old baby son. 

They listen hard. With intention and purpose. Ready to act on whatever messages they receive. 

Ready to provide their newborn with all the care, comfort, love and protection he needs.

A little later on, they will delight in every coo, sigh, chuckle, gurgle and giggle he makes before recognisable words are shaped and formed. 

Most will seem indecipherable to those who are not 'in the know'. But these two will become experts in analysing each intonation, finding them infinitely precious and meaningful to them alone until others can understand and interpret them too.

We all long for connection. Desire to communicate. To express ourselves. Be heard. Understood. 

And when it happens ~ links form, tangled threads let loose that bind one person to another in harmony.

If we have such a strong in-built desire to be heard, listened to and taken seriously, then think how important it is for God to make Himself known to us in a similar fashion.

It begs the question:Are we listening? Paying keen attention? Or have we largely switched off to Him? 

When 2013 began, I was greatly blessed in reading 'Jesus Calling' by Sarah Young and found that God started to speak to me too.

I decided to record those words that God whispered to my heart as 'Prayer Whispers'.

At first, it felt like I had a clear line, no fogginess or indistinct blurring.

So I scribbled the thoughts down in a prayer journal.

Some got shared here.

Most felt private for me or maybe I just lacked courage to declare them as 'words from above' ~ after all, who am I? I'm nobody special. Just a woman seeking to follow God's heart and leading for her life. 

Over time, they lessened (or I got bad at hearing them) and became infrequent.

But all the more precious for their rarity.

Just before the new year began, I heard quite distinctly. Though I wavered, challenged, questioned...Is this really You, God?

He made it clear. I had a new 'word' for 2014 and it was ~ 'Listen'.

Every whisper on the wind might be the sound of His voice. 

Every person I communicate with might need me to listen more intently to their words or to the hidden message in their heartRead gestures, posture, expressions, sighs.

Every stir in the air around might be God speaking to me through creation.

Perhaps this is not only a natural follow on to last year's injunction to 'Come', but a way of ensuring I'm in the best position possible to catch it all.

So what happens next? How do I assist the listening process?

By joining the #oneword365 challenge, making my intentions public (no backing out now), plus writing my first post about listening and why it's so important to me on followed by this one and more to come as the months unfold.

Aiming to read 'Listening to your life' Daily Meditations by Frederick Beuchner.

I am also taking part in the 2014 Mindful Writing Challenge because I need all the help I can get to deliberately notice and pay attention to my life.

And to close with here is today's #smallstone offering of mindfulness:

"Commencing black and blue

dissolving into rainbow-shadowed hue

a central core of white-hot heat and light

burning radiantly, glowing bright

standing sentinel, upright and strong

until the slightest breeze comes along

then bending, dancing, sway and quiver

like a frightened child all a-shiver"

Life, objects around, voices, words, every sound, appear changed, transformed and new when viewed with eyes opening in surprise beyond their everyday guise.


My hope and prayer is that you will discover the joy of listening too, so you don't miss the words God is trying to get across to you. 

"God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer" ~ Mother Teresa

And do share what you are learning. I would love to know about your journey. We can support and encourage one another here.

Do you have a 'word' for 2014? 

Has God spoken to you lately in ways you just couldn't miss? 

Please feel free to share in the comments below.

May this be a blessed and happy new year of hearing and receiving God's best for your life!

Linking here with Lyli, Emily and Jennifer