Friday, 24 April 2015

Don't hide your light

Sometimes a word appears in due season. A word meant to be shared.

Flowing freely as it invades the mind with inspiration. 

A touch and gift of grace.

Such is the word I'm sharing today as I join in with the liberating, free-form creative writing exercise which is five minute friday.



I want you to know these things:

God hasn't hidden Himself from you.

Creation breathes His Presence.

The Word made flesh made His mark on the cross.

Nailed Himself indelibly to mankind.

Paved a pathway of freedom for you and me.

Abides closer than our next breath

And is only a prayer away.

God intends us to live within the riches of His forgiveness and grace.

To break out of our stony heart's carapace.

To live and love and give.

Your life matters.

Your words matter.

Your voice needs to be heard.

Don't hide your light. Allow it to shine glory-bright.

Write out your story to His praise and glory.

Pour out your pain and shame.

Because in the opening you will begin to be 

set free as you share your frail humanity.

Let the breathings of your heart and the bleeding of your pen

become the unravelling of Hope to lift and encourage, reveal

and help other wounded souls to heal

on their journey to becoming whole"


On a day when pain is all pervasive and my mind fogged with M.E fatigue, I am thankful for the surprising gift of words to weave.

And if God can inspire this dim and faltering wick, then He will do the same for you too. 

You can write. You can shine for Jesus. Just where you are.

The prayer below is free for you to pin and share.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Butterflies, books and blessings

I seem to be turning into butterfly-woman, or at least have developed more of a butterfly mind recently which is easily attracted and distracted by turns.

My new tendency is to flit from book to book, pausing to savour a hint of its flavour before I move on to another.

Books beckon to us. They may call insistently like a whiny child or lure siren-seductively with an irresistible boldness. 

Others whisper soft and insinuate themselves around our hearts. We feel crushed to come to the end of their words.

Those we need to work through cause stopping pauses for reflection as well as working on the suggested activities or questions.

I've been dipping in and out of the 'read, pause, ponder, pray and respond' type over the last few weeks, hence my somewhat distracted manner.

But fruit is appearing as I am being inspired to delve deep into soul territory and to unleash new areas of creativity.

And you, dear reader, can taste a tidbit here as I share a story from my childhood memories.

"Huge yellow teeth grinning inanely within a mouth cavernous and dangerously close to my shaking hands, I proffer the fruit as homage, offering. It is snaffled noisily. 

Breath puffs out in snorts and starts from flared nostrils, making smoky circles in the air. 

I'm entranced by a fine conker-shiny coat, by swish of thick whiplash tail, by nodding of head and stamping of hooves.

Horses were a rarity for me. City living doesn't suit them.

No place we lived in had room for more than a couple of cats, a cage of pet mice, small bowl of goldfish and some budgerigars. And most of them vanished when we moved into a flat with no garden of our own.

Even a field looks far too small to contain this boisterous frame, this much compressed energy. 

Smell of shoe leather assails my nose as saddle is hoisted into place, bit and bridle attached, reins close to catch hold of. We're ready to ride. At least this magnificent beast is. I'm scared and exhilarated by turns.

Heart thumping like a terrified caged bird, I obey instruction, swing shaky legs over saddle and find myself seated on hardness, close to glistening flank and fearsome head. Breathe... breathe... it will be OK.

We begin to move. Tentative at first. A gentle trot, nice and easy. I watch, listen and learn as my experienced companion urges me on. And wonder takes over. Look at me ~ I'm riding a horse! 

We emerge from the field and hit gravel. Tarmac tilts me differently and clip-clop sounds become more pronounced. I cling on as we move forward with increasing momentum. Try to stay calm as we begin to canter a little. 

I sense the weight of horse muscle and power between my legs. And I feel out of control, at the mercy of this great beast, even as I take the reins in a closer grip, sweat trickling down my spine.

Life seems more intense somehow, scenery seen from a higher perspective, senses alert with adrenaline. A child's eye view now skewed by an equine ride.

All too soon the prancing, dancing giddiness of it comes to an end and I slide away from my carrier. 

I bask in admiration for the way he lives, moves and has his being, and how, for a short moment in time, I could be a small part of it all."

It's been a while since I've written about my past, or done so in a positive way. All it took was a creative exercise prompt and the memory here flooded back.

It was prompted by reading 'Spin - Taking Your Creativity to the Nth Degree' by Claire Burge.

Our minds are rich storehouses, replete with randomness which can become ripe and renewed to our senses as God brings things to remembrance.

God was working in my life when I was a child. I have no doubt that even then He began to get me to see experiences through the lens of grace, and to mark my memory with good events that will eventually outweigh the bad as I allow them to surface.

And He's continuing to do just that as He teaches you and I to live mindfully and be aware of His hand in everything.

You may not remember much that was good about your childhood. Neither did I for many years.

However, a snatch of a song, a few poetic words, a smell, a sight, sound or word prompt may be all it takes to release those beautiful butterfly moments when summer seemed endless and experiences were ripe for plucking and savouring.

And as we seek to follow after God's heart, He encourages us to live in the moment with awareness and gratitude for His continual goodness and grace.

In due time, God will bring events to mind as a way of informing the present and aid His work in shaping us for the future.

*NOTE* ~  Friends, please let me know in the comments below if you would like to read more childhood remembrances. I am very  slowly tackling some memoir writing. And because this is a departure from the norm for me here, I really value your opinion. Thank you! :)

Over to you:

How is God helping you to re-frame your childhood through the lens of His grace?

Have you had any positive memories surfacing at unlikely moments?

And are you learning to live more mindfully than you may have done before?

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Let it burn

Sounds of scraping reached my ears, alerting me to the toast being close to becoming cinders.

Thankfully, it was not meant for me but for my beloved who likes his toast near to charcoal before he considers it ready.

He pours scorn on mine resembling 'singed bread' instead. We don't all like the same degree of heat, do we?

Life itself offers many opportunities for us to feel scorched by our circumstances, burnt by being rejected, or to feel on fire with passion and drive to succeed in our dreams and plans.

There is danger of being consumed with a whole host of emotions as we go through our days. Being on fire is more likely to make us fume, see red and give off angry smoke than feel energised.

Because the more important something is to us, the less we can cope with challenge or changes to it. 

I see small signs of it in my little toddler grandson as his thwarted goals often make him whimper or rage. He wants what he wants and he wants it Now. 

Determination is what keeps him pressing on beyond his limitations and on to the next milestone.

It begs the question:How hard do we fight for our faith? 

How much does it mean to us? 

Would we go through fire for Jesus? Maybe...

Perhaps knowing how much Jesus has gone through for us can provide all the motivation we need to aim to live our lives fully surrendered to Him?

If you're experiencing the fires of adversity right now, then you know it's a given for being human. 

Besides, all who desire to live a godly, yielded life will experience the heat of struggle and opposition.

But are you (and I) aware how Jesus is in the fiery furnace with us?

Yes, He is present, right smack in the middle of whatever we are going through.

And the heat of it all won't harm us when we realise His nearness.

Quite often we will need to stop, pause... take a deep breath ...and pray. Life scorches us and we feel its blaze, choke on the smoke and feel flames licking higher.

God already knows what we are going through and He stands ready to come alongside, comfort, strengthen or deliver us.

And once we turn our thoughts to God's ability to help rather than our inability to cope, we can be confident He will hear and answer us. 

He rallies to our cries, hears the unspoken fears in our heart and sees the incipient tears in our eyes.

Because just like my grandson is to me, we are deeply precious, special and beloved to God. 

He yearns, even burns to set us free to live above those fiery circumstances and to be at peace in the midst of problems. 

God's loving presence is also a consuming fire which scorches off the dross and detritus we needlessly carry.

In His current of grace we can breathe pure, clean air again, become rested and restored once more.

We become readied to live alive and alert to His presence, our hearts warmed with love and gratitude for all He has done.