Walking through Holy Week, the weather rained & poured & hailed & blew a mighty forceful gale. Much like my daily life walk through lent. Today, Maundy Thursday, we woke up to calm & a glorious sun shining a tingling in my depths. And so comes my hope & singing when the morning comes. #1000gifts #thankyouJesus
I got brave. God made me brave.
Brave enough to pick up the slingshot He gave me and the stones that lay beside.
He made me brave enough to stand feet firmly apart, my shoulders back and my head held up. My eyes firm on my enemies.
I had prayed, I had prayed again. I prayed more.
Each time becoming more desperate in my valley of tortured threat. Fear of these Goliath’s that jabbed and stabbed and sliced at me. The seeds sown so long ago into the core of me that had been fed and grown out of wild tangled control.
I’m no gardener. I don’t know what I’m doing. I tried cutting back but more strangling vines and bloodthirsty thorn weeds grew, quick and strong.
This is a place of life taking danger, and not just mine. Many life sentences ruled by evil’s hand are all around.
So I prayed and I prayed more. God made me brave enough to ask others to pray and pray more.
Blankets of His words filled with love and grace. Filled with the Son’s love for His sister. Filled with the Father’s love and grace and warmth for His daughter, wrapped around me. And made me brave.
So I’m stood with the slingshot and the stones and my feet apart and my eyes firm and with the angel armies of heaven.
The giants stood revelling, taunting, laughing.
But the Spirit of the holy of holies, of the king of all kingdoms whispers in my ear. And stones of love, stones of courage, stones of friendship, stones of encouragement, stones of joy, stones of grace, fly like arrows to slay what I had allowed to be my masters.
And I prayed, and God made me braver and the giants were falling. And….
I don’t know what happened. I thought I had seen them all clearly. Yet, it was there. It was stood, it had been waiting. Smugly, excitedly, secretly. An unknown giant towered. How had I not seen it?
It waited assured it would knock me down, flat on my back defenceless or with my face choking into the dirt. All it cared about was destroying me. Destroying my relationships, hopes and most importantly destroying my faith in God.
God though was not taken by surprise. He of course had known it was coming. I believe even leading it to come. That’s why He had given me a heart to pray, a conquering heart for change. He had given me the best defences. Love and grace. He had been preparing me with a belt of truth, a breastplate of righteousness, He had fitted my feet ready and waiting with the gospel of peace. He had given me a shield of faith, a helmet of salvation and that glorious sword of the spirit, the glorious word of God.
All of which had me brave.
So I’m not knocked over. I’m not broken. I am shaken but I am standing.
My hand is steady enough, Wind powered by the whispering to keep releasing the stones directed by heavens hand.
And this giant stumbles. They are all stumbling, disorientated and more wounded with every blow.
And I will pray, and I will be brave, and the Lord God who conquered for my salvation will sustain my strength in battle until every single one of those giants lay, slain dead with their heads cut off.
Yes. I believe God led it. He knew the giant by name and knew it’s ugly face by sight. It was in plane view to the Almighty.
It couldn’t be slain though until I saw it. It could no longer be hidden from me if I was going to live a life in Christ, set free.
So I’m still fighting and my opponent is strong.
My God is stronger and the battle will be won.
Love will win. God will win.
I give thanks, my Lord, my King, My Conqueror. You keep me brave.
I will pray.
Written on Feb 9th
Today is my birthday……
It is 10.39am and so far has not felt much like a special day. Mostly because I let slip aside my keepsakes of grace, my giving thanks for so many blessings God has given me this very birthday. Partly through just being an ordinary gray chilly February day and partly my children not knowing how to put aside their “life’s all about me” attitude. Before I opened even one card their quarrelling voices and sulky faces about being rushed out of bed and who can sit the closest with the best view, did nothing more than bring flowing tears to my eyes.
Why was I so upset? A mixture of feelings crashed around in the pit of my stomach. Thoughts of “I can’t believe how selfish they are”. “I can’t believe how thoughtless they are”. “They are ruining my birthday and it’s only just started”. “What an awful job I’ve done bringing them up if all they can think about is their own wants, even on their mothers (my) birthday”. “After everything I do for them”. “After I’ve spoilt them so much this weekend”…… and so it went on!
Then after not opening my presents and sending them off to get ready for school, I started to feel awful. More thoughts “I shouldn’t have rushed them”. “I should have let them have breakfast first”. “I shouldn’t be so selfish and act like a princess”. “Just because it’s my birthday doesn’t mean everyone should be running around after me” me me…. And so on.
Can you see what’s wrong with this picture? Huh! No wonder my beloved children think about themselves so much. Are you shaking your head at me? I’m shaking it at myself!
It is true that my want for my children to be more actively thoughtful and decrease their thoughtlessness is a just prayer but surely more so out of their love for Jesus than of their love for me. Surely the second follows the first.
Now before I go on please don’t think I am comparing myself to Jesus, I am not. But as my children claimed their thought self right to be closest to me on the bed, those feelings of disappointment, shame and horror for their own fame and self importance reminded me of the story of the mother of James and John. She requested that her son’s be seated at the right side and left side of Jesus when He rules His Kingdom, read Matt 20:20-28 NIV. Jesus though didn’t respond with thoughts of “they’re just hanging off my coat tales of fame and authority”, or “they think it’s all fun and miraculous miracles but they have no idea what I will have to go through for them” or “how ungrateful are they when I have done so much for them already” or “I am so disappointed with you right now”. No! Jesus in perfect love and obedience, answered, the authority of the decision was with God the Father. No boasting or claiming His own right to make the decision. He then moved on to bring encouragement and understanding that when God puts us in great places there are great responsibilities and trials to bear. That to be great we must serve, be a slave, see v26-27.
It is all very well my children knowing this to be true but they must see it modelled by those nearest to them whom not only love them but most importantly love Jesus, so then all the I, my, I’ve, me should be put to death. That I must also live by the example gift Jesus showed fulfilling His own words, v21”just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as ransom for many”.
So yes it’s my birthday. Yes it’s nice to have a day when those closest to you show they value you. Even today it’s not about ‘princess me ‘ but what glory of God is shown through ‘me serving ’. Then maybe I will see the best birthday gifts of fruit dwelling within my children.
My prayer after my headspace shower was “Lord, what can I do for You today? How can I bring glory to Your name?” My second prayer “Lord, help me remember to ask this every day”. My third prayer “Lord, let my example of Jesus’ example through the Holy Spirit be my birthday present that will sow the juiciest of fruits within my children. Amen.
As my eyes wonder over to the window doors that frame one small corner of God’s beauty in creation, I see His trees. Lots of trees. Some small, some tall, with leaves green, some with grayness and bare. Long branches, short branches, all reaching out for different spaces, some managing to intertwine as they reach for the same space.
But all and every tree stretches with it’s all and every branch, reaching up and out, like arms and hands raised up and open to praise God, to bring their offering of glorified worship to their wonderful, perfect, beautiful creator.
Nature in its simplicity open and free worshipping God our creator.
God, over and above, looks and smiles His blessings of seasons. Seasons of light and warm suns bringing growth and business. The quench of nourishing rains, the cold’s stillness and rest. And in all seasons these trees remain with their arms open trustful and thankful, worshipping God their creator.
And so God shows us, encouragingly through His beauty in creation, in all seasons, to trust, be thankful and worship Him, God our creator.
Psalm 96:11-13 NIV
11, Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12, Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13, Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness and the people in his faithfulness.
Hands that flung stars into space, that created heaven and earth, all that is seen and unseen, all that is good.
Hands on the wood of the cross, nailed, staked, bruised, bleeding, crushed to death.
Hands crushing death itself, holding signed ancient prophecies fulfilled, rose on the third day.
Those hands have never stopped reaching out to ours. Hands that never slip away with weakened strength but have perfect endurance powered by perfect love.
If we no longer hold the hands of perfect love it is because we pulled our hands away, distracted by the glitter or tiredness or stabbings of life. Our own self determined control that keeps our hands busy elsewhere, held out in worship to the created rather than the creator.
His hand though always waits, itching patience to protectively glove our cold dirty hands. To take our repentant flesh palms and to envelope them with the security of the unending life giving, devotedly grace filled, unashamedly love spilling, God palm.
Behold the hand. Behold I AM.
Isaiah 46:4 NIV
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.