He Holds Us When We Fall

When we fall he holds us lovingly, and graciously and swiftly raises us.

In all this work he takes the part of a kind nurse who has no other care but the welfare of her child. It is his responsibility to save us, it is his glory to do it, and it is his will we should know it.

Utterly at home, he lives in us forever.

From Enfolded in Love, Daily Readings with Julian of Norwich

I will not forget you… I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands…

Isaiah 49:16 (NRSVA)

Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… [teach] them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

Matthew 28:18-20

Beauty for Ashes

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your
laughter rises was oftentime filled with your tears…
When you are joyous, look deep into
your heart and you shall find it is only
that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in
your heart, and you shall see that in truth
you are weeping for that which has been
your delight.

from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

CAM00227

English lavender, July 2014

The Secret to Dealing with Hard Times

Very good post over at incourage today:

“Keep in touch with [your pain] because it is at those moments of pain where you are most open to the pain of other people – most open to your own deep places. Keep in touch with those sad times because it is then that you are most aware of your own powerlessness, crushed in a way by what is happening to you, but also most aware of God’s power to pull you through it, to be with you in it.”

We can be stewards of our money, of our time and talents, of our gifts. But could we… also be stewards of our pain? Could we see anew how God suffers with us, just as He suffered for us?

Click here to read more. It will open in a new tab.

Blessings

A spider busily weaves his web over the glass as the sun shines through the pane, lighting up the windowsill. The crackled, peeling paint doesn’t look shabby in the sunlight. It looks somehow blessed – as if the light shining on it gives it new character; makes it beautiful. In the distance I can see dark clouds. Rain is probably moving our way, but right now the sun is shining.

Sometimes folk say, “aren’t I lucky?” and their Christian brother or sister nods sagely and says, “ah, but are you lucky? Or are you blessed?”. I know what they mean, and I know they mean well by pointing out that God is the giver of all things, but aren’t we blessed in the good times and in the bad times? Do we really believe that the bad times are because God withholds His blessing? Should we go around during the good times praising God for His blessings, but not in the bad times? Doesn’t that make it seem as if God favours some (i.e. those He has ‘blessed’) more than others? Isn’t that the same lie that underpins the prosperity gospel? Isn’t that the same lie that says I can earn my way into God’s favour?

The world is good. The world is bad. Life is good. Life is bad. I don’t understand why some suffer so much more than others. I do know that in suffering we can learn more about God, and more about our dear Jesus and His Passion, than we ever could without suffering. We’ll never know the whys and wherefores in this life. Ecclesiastes tells us:

For everything there is a season,

and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance…

Ecclesiastes 3:1,2,4 (NRSVA)

I am thankful for all the seasons of my life. I am thankful that when I desperately needed help, the hands and hearts of my brothers and sisters in Christ were there for me, especially those in Celebrate Recovery. Without Celebrate Recovery I wouldn’t be here now.

Carry each other’s burdens and so live out the law of Christ. ….

Galatians 6:2 (NRSVA)

Thank you.

I don’t know why I continue to be so surprised at all the good things that we have been granted in the past few years. Why am I surprised to not be suffering for the first time in decades (I don’t consider this illness as suffering – far from it)? God is good. God is always good. But when life is good we must never become complacent. We must love our suffering neighbour all the more, all the more. As Ann Voskamp says, all is grace.

This song is not written about God, but it’s the one that makes the most sense to me today. It also serves a dual purpose of saying thank you to God, and thank you to my beloved husband, who has shown me God’s love with such generosity and patience through the good times and the bad. I hope you like it, too.

 

There is No Other

I keep humming this beautiful hymn. I hope we can visit Holy Island one day (not that that has anything to do with this hymn, or St. Patrick).

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my vision, Lord. Be Thou my all.

Know, recognise, and understand therefore this day and turn your [mind and] heart to it that the Lord is God in the heavens above and upon the earth beneath; there is no other.

Deuteronomy 4:39 (AMP)

Reblog: The Obligation of Spiritual Childhood

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Spiritual childhood – as I understand it – is what is meant by the letting go of all the things we have striven for and fought for and clung to as we grew up, all the things the world told us we had to do. It’s not that those things are unnecessary (some of them are, but not all) but that we must let go of self and self-determination in the same way as a tiny child relies on Mummy and Daddy for every part of life. It is a surrendering, but at the same time a sublimation, a transformation, into something new and unexpectedly beautiful.

But it does take time (a lifetime?) so instead of worrying about the times we don’t get it ‘right’, we can let go and humbly begin again. And, in time, the changes on the inside begin to show themselves on the outside, and we wonder how it happened, because we know we couldn’t do it without Him.

Contemplative in the Mud

MagdeleineSpiritual childhood has become an obligation ever since our Lord took a little child by the hand, put him in the midst of the grown men who were arguing over who would have the first place and who were dreaming of an earthly kingdom, telling them, “If you do not become like little children, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3).

Little Sister Magdeleine (1898–1989)

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There is a Balm in Gilead to Make the Wounded Whole

This is just beautiful – even more so when you consider its origins as a spiritual, borne out of suffering. Why is it that sometimes God takes pain and out of it emerges something beautiful? It’s a pattern throughout the bible, right from the Fall to the Resurrection and beyond.

I post this because I know I’m not the only one struggling, physically or emotionally. Physically I seem to take two steps forward and then three steps back. Just because I was trying to accommodate everyone’s needs yesterday, I am utterly worn out and bedridden today. So frustrating – yet I know that my only hope is found in Him. So I start again, back to square one. Step One: count my blessings…

 

Lyrics

Chorus:

There is a balm in Gilead 
To make the wounded whole
There is a balm in Gilead 
To heal the sin-sick soul

Sometimes I feel discouraged
And think my work’s in vain
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my soul again

Chorus

Don’t ever feel discouraged
For Jesus is your friend
And if you lack for knowledge
He’ll ne’er refuse to lend

Chorus

 

“Will You Be My Friend?”

It’s a week since we moved into a new area and a lovely new house, and today Prince and I visited the local special school. With its muted colour scheme, low-stimulant environment, multi-sensory room with aromatherapy, twinkly lights and music, plus hydrotherapy pool for the use of all pupils, it’s not the first time I’ve thought that I could benefit from such a place!

When we entered what will be Prince’s class, a boy immediately walked up to him, stood far too close,  gave him an intense eye-to-eye gaze and said, “Hello. I’m Lenny. Will you be my friend?”

Prince was quite pleased by this response to his mere presence. His face broke into a bashful smile and he gave a quiet but emphatic nod. Then Lenny came up to me, stood far too close, gazed at me intensely and said, “When he comes, do you think he will be my very good friend?”

I replied in the affirmative.

Autism. Sometimes it’s beautiful.

“…whoever welcomes in my name

one such child as this,

welcomes me.”

Matthew 18:5