Redeeming Grace and Wellington Boots

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From the archives:

multicolouredsmartypants

My little girls are going to Theatre School for three hours every Saturday. They love it. They’re rehearsing for a Christmas show. Chip was singing Silent Night in the car this morning and when her off-key, cute little-girl voice sang these words, my eyes filled up:

‘…with the dawn of redeeming grace’

And later I read these powerful wordsfrom Pastor Boudreaux over on A Pastor’s Thoughts.

That made me think: I could so easily have succumbed to anger, to hatred, of those who abused me, as a child and then as an adult. But somewhere I realised that anger and hatred hurt me more than them. I realised I had to let go. That’s not to say the anger has gone completely – if I think about either of them I am so angry and incredulous that they did what they did and that (seemingly) neither of…

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Mild Mannered Meanderings

Conversation with Chip on the way home from church:

“Mummy, I’m the only one in my class at school who is a Christian.”

Me: “Are you? How do you know?”

Chip: “I’m the only one who goes to church.”

Me: “Oh, ok.”

Chip: “Amelia is a… she’s a… something-or-other Christian. A Viking Christian.”

Me (suppressing a laugh): “A Viking Christian? Are you sure?”

Chip (hesitant): “Maybe… Er… It’s something like a Viking Christian… A Saxon Christian? A Catholic Saxon?”

Me (unable to suppress the laugh any longer): “Do you mean a Roman Catholic?”

Chip: “Yes! But she doesn’t go to church.”

Happy

So it’s just us this year, which is fine by me. Frank cooked the dinner, a wonderful roast duck with cranberry & orange stuffing, accompanied by roast parsnips, roast baby potatoes, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and onion gravy. All I did was microwave the Christmas pudding, pull a cracker or two, read the obligatory terrible jokes and wear a silly hat. Do you think the Queen wears a silly hat at Christmas? It seems almost unpatriotic not to. We’re British: surely it’s against the law to not wear a paper hat and eat Brussels sprouts on Christmas Day? Methinks we ought to wear a festive crown of sprouts and eat the paper hat – it would surely taste better. (Did you see what I did there? I came over all Shakespearey. Very patriotic if I do say so myself, thank you kindly.)

We had Frank’s mother for dinner. Not literally, you understand; I’m not fond of mutton. No, but really, she thoroughly enjoyed her presents and her dinner and was still smiling when I took her back to the care home, which in the difficult-to-navigate waters of dementia was an excellent result. Prince had a wobble at the dinner table but overall he’s been ok. Ish. He loved his gifts, and we even saw a smile! Patience is indeed a virtue (autocorrect wanted to put ‘patience is indeed a virus’ o_O I’m tapping this out on a second-hand Kindle as my laptop has died).

My darling husband gave me a gorgeous Japanese teaset AND a Hyperbole and a Half 2016 calendar! 😀 Definitely on the shortlist for Husband of the Year. Fluff loves her new Keep Warm and Hug a Pony jumper. She nearly cried when she unwrapped it. Chip has fallen in love with her walking, yapping(?) unicorn (a gift from granny). The girls have spent the afternoon playing charades and are now combining the art of toasting marshmallows over an open fire with watching our special family Christmas movie – Shaun the Sheep. Not a particularly Christmassy movie… unless you count the fact that there were sheep in the Christmas story. Well, there were shepherds. Ultimately it’s a tale of love, redemption and unwavering devotion so perhaps not so un-Christmassy.

Ooh, Fluff just handed me a double toasted marshmallow. Plus, this Shaun the Sheep film is hilarious, so Godspeed, dear friends. Enjoy the rest of the festivities. And remember: Jesus is the reason for the season 😉

 

Conversations with Chip: Zombies, Spaceships and Doing the Conga

“I had a funny dream last night, Mummy,” Chip said as we made our way to school.

“Oh yes?” I replied.

“Yes. I dreamed that giant zombies came and destroyed Sir William Walters School!”

“Oh dear!” I said and, knowing the way my daughter’s mind works, added, “Was it a nightmare?”

“Not really. I dreamt that I got married to Duncan… Ugh!” She paused, clearly momentarily stunned by the revoltingness of the notion.

“So the giant zombies came and destroyed the school and you got married to Duncan…?”

“Yes. Ugh!” She shuddered again. “But it was ok because we had magic rings and we used our wedding rings to kill the zombies and restore the school! Hooray!”

We smiled at each other. “Well that sounds like it could have been a bad dream but wasn’t in the end.” I said.

“No, it wasn’t a bad dream in the end.” She smiled.

“I had a funny dream too, last night.” I said. “I dreamt I went in a spaceship to Beijing. It was great!”

“Beijing? In China?”

“Yes. But it wasn’t really… and the night before I dreamt I was in a Catholic church lining up to get communion and we were all doing the conga.”

Chip laughed. “Doing the conga?”

“Yes! And in the dream it didn’t seem weird at all. It just seemed like we were all happy and loving God.”

“Well, then, I suppose if it was real God wouldn’t mind as long as everyone was happy.”

“No, Chip, I don’t suppose He would.”

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N.B. I take no responsibility for the state of my head, or that of my child. We both know our minds work a teensy bit differently from the norm but, hey! That’s how God made us. For any and all comments or complaints please consult the Manufacturer. We’re happy enough; we have the Manufacturer’s Guarantee 😉

A Twinkle in His Eye?

‘They came again to Jerusalem, and as [Jesus] was walking in the temple, the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders came to him, and they began saying to him, “By what authority do you do these things? Or who gave you this authority to do these things?”

Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John—was it from heaven, or from men? Answer me.”

They reasoned with themselves, saying, “If we should say, ‘From heaven;’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ If we should say, ‘From men’”—they feared the people, for all held John to really be a prophet. They answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said to them, “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”’

Mark 11:27-33 (WEB)

These people kept on and on and on bugging Jesus, trying to trip Him up so they could find something to knock Him down with (a bit like the tabloids nowadays?). They never did find anything. Jesus always, always responded with truth, mercy, compassion, wisdom, knowledge and, I like to think, a little bit of humour. Take the above, for example, I like to imagine a twinkle in the eye with that final sentence, not quite a wink, but a definite glimmer of humour, perhaps a raised eyebrow and a wry smile; kindly, funny, stern, honest, authoritative – all at once.

I’m continuing listening to the Librivox free (public domain) recording of the New Testament, read by ordinary volunteers. I’ve listened all the way through the Gospel of Matthew, and am now in the middle of Mark. Listening has brought about whole new levels of awareness of the oh-so-familiar text. I’m particularly struck by the way Jesus is described during His time of ministry (if that is what one can call it): He was relentless.

Dear Lord

Make me more like You.

Amen

A Day in the Life of a Proverbs 31 Husband

Another reblog!

This made me chuckle thinking of what my husband might write about me. I’m the epitome of the long lost Proverbs 47 woman. The rest of Proverbs got stuck down the back of the sofa along with three polo mints and a lottery scratchcard, so people haven’t generally heard of it. Also, of course, there’s the Proverbs 48 man: ‘A husband of goodly manners, who can find? He putteth down the toilet seat and cleaneth out the sink after shaving…’

I don’t know why but I’m reminded of a telephone conversation I had with my mother several years ago. I may have shared this story before. Where I come from ‘pastor’ is pronounced the same as ‘pasta’. Also, most church leaders are not ‘pastor’ but vicar or minister, etc. ‘Pastor’ is quite unusual. So when I said I had an appointment with the pastor my mother thought I was joking about my lunch, laughed, and told me she’d just had a sandwich. I didn’t know why she was talking about sandwiches all of a sudden, but it was clear she was more than a little worried when I said I was going to talk to the ‘pasta’…

Tim's Blog - Just One Train Wreck After Another

Hey Pal!

I know I’ve owed you an email for a while. Sorry about not staying in touch, but life here has been crazy. Just as a for instance, here’s what yesterday was like for me.

9:00 – Got out of bed. I woke up earlier but my wife told me to sleep in because she had everything covered. I have so much confidence in her I just had to roll over and go back to sleep.

9:05 – She brought me breakfast all the way from the kitchen on the other side of the house. And this house is HUGE. I mean, I don’t mean to boast but with the money she brings home from her flax and wool factory she insisted I should enjoy the lifestyle she can afford to give me.

10:00 – I headed to the city park to brag about my wife. Seriously, those other…

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They Say Laughter is the Best Medicine

Humour has been such an important part of my healing. I have had the wonderful pleasure this afternoon of listening to the wonderful, inimitable Pam Ayres on BBC Radio 4 Extra. I can’t count the number of laugh-out-loud moments this particular episode contains:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00mg9fy

For my non-UK readers, here’s one you can enjoy:

and another…

Redeeming Grace and Wellington Boots

My little girls are going to Theatre School for three hours every Saturday. They love it. They’re rehearsing for a Christmas show. Chip was singing Silent Night in the car this morning and when her off-key, cute little-girl voice sang these words, my eyes filled up:

 

‘…with the dawn of redeeming grace’

 

And later I read these powerful words from Pastor Boudreaux over on A Pastor’s Thoughts.

 

That made me think: I could so easily have succumbed to anger, to hatred, of those who abused me, as a child and then as an adult. But somewhere I realised that anger and hatred hurt me more than them. I realised I had to let go. That’s not to say the anger has gone completely – if I think about either of them I am so angry and incredulous that they did what they did and that (seemingly) neither of them will face justice (in the human sense). Mind you, I am quite sure God will have His own justice and I am equally sure that that is not my business.

 

Forgiveness is an ongoing, daily process. As much as I must ask God as soon as I realise I have done wrong, for forgiveness, so I must hand these emotions over to Him. He holds me in His hands. He knows my going out and my coming in. He knows this journey of forgiveness. After reading Pastor Boudreaux’s words I am reminded again of this grace journey – this redeeming grace that holds me as I walk, even in the shadows, and draws me on relentless towards the light. It is a mystery beyond words. I can’t help but be thankful that, despite all the suffering in my life, I have witnessed something golden in receiving this redeeming grace, something so precious.

 

‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.’

Matthew 13:44

 

Is the kingdom of heaven found in the muck and the dirt? Is the kingdom found with the weak and the discarded? Is the kingdom of heaven worth giving up all that I have in order to have it, yet then I find that what I thought I had was nothing, after all, and that this treasure of grace is freely given?

 

 

Grace is a bit like wellie boots. The field is just as muddy. You still have to walk through all the ****. But you’re ok. And hey – sometimes it’s even fun 😉

It’ll never make sense. It just gives you joy. Be blessed. ♥