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Nov. 28th, 2015

the advent crack...


There was this one day....when....God decided
THIS was the point in His Earthly creation to pull open the veil just a crack and let His two realms collide.
And looking down through His universe into an inky starry sky enveloping a tiny spinning planet
All heaven broke loose!

A place outside of our time cracked open just a little to give us a gift so unexpected we never saw it coming!
A God - human - baby
Ageless but brand new
All knowing but helpless
A King sleeping in a animal's food bowl
No beginning
No end

That thin veil between two realms cracked open
And some little human beings and some little sheep on a hillside fell over!!
They saw through the crack into....

What?

What did they see?
How can it be described in our inadequate words?
A glimpse into a place like nothing we can comprehend.
Light streams so bright our eyes couldn't handle it
Blazing!
Shining!
Piercing!
Invading the night so that
Not a drop of inky darkness could be seen anywhere

A place without time broke into our 'time bound' existence
And then...
Incomprehensibly beautiful music spilt out into the air and streamed its way down to God's earth
Multitudes of beings with wings that we cannot imagine winged down to sing God's Message.

Multitudes?
How many is that?
Multitudes of messengers....bringing the news to little human beings on a hillside
Entrusted to pass it on
To 'Gospel' it to everyone they saw

And what was 'The Message'?
Most of all, "Don't be afraid!"
"I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Saviour has just been born in David's town. A Saviour who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: A baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
"Glory to God in the heavenly heights. Peace to all men and women on earth who please him."


THAT'S what happened...that one day God decided to open the crack....between heaven and earth.

Aug. 3rd, 2014

The Word....

"A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day." - Emily Dickinson

There are some almost unanswerable questions that are just lovely to think deeply about....to mull and chew deliciously over....to wonder loudly to no-one in particular.
A little insignificant human being did this today.
Among the clouds.
At 30,000 feet.
From Dublin to New York.
Sun streaming through the window.
Sitting above the world....just wondering....


Where do words come from?
Where do they go?
Where do they dwell?

We store them in Dictionaries and books.
They fill our dreams and our waking moments.
Our today thoughts and our yesterday memories.
They are passed on to others in conversation and story.

They are created and formed with or without thought.
We think them.
We speak them.
We write them.
We read them.
We listen to them.

So many words....how do we speak them?
How do we hear them?
What kind of words can they be?

When they leave us, do they leave in a hurry?
Not stopping to think before they trip over each other to climb our lips - gone forever - smashing head long, one after another into the person beside us or in front of us.
Hurting and wounding and ripping into hearts and souls...as we try too late .... to mop up the mess with clumsiness.
Where do they go?
Do they make their home with the wounded and get filed in a memory?
Or do they spill over from the wounded, slightly altered but full of the same venom to the next person?

Or maybe when they leave us their target is absent. So they form as rumour and lies or secrets that were never meant to be told - so are passed slyly from one face to another face conspiratorially with no honour.
Shame and guilt start to rise in our hearts but we can't help ourselves and it's too late anyway.
Where did they go?
These words have started a journey that will race like wildfire and may have no end.

But there are also words that have their source in healing and nurture and encouragement and affirmation.
These words are birthed in the core of our souls where our image reflects God the clearest.
There is no age limit.
You hear them when a three year old says, "Don't cry Mummy" or "I love your wrinkles Nanny" and strokes your face.
We hear them when a Daddy says, "I'm proud of you!"
We hear them when we speak forgiveness instead of revenge and retaliation.
When we whisper to someone, "I believe in you!" when they don't.
When we tell someone, "You inspire me to be a better person!" because they do!
And when we say...."I'm sorry....."

But there is one Word that is above all others!
This Word is incomprehensible.
The Word was, is and always will be....the Word!
The Word has always been and will always be.
The Word was with God and WAS God!
Everything came into being through the Word.
That Word became flesh......and came among us.
But we didn't recognise the Word so we showed rejection.
The Word came to save us but we couldn't see.

But some people did see....
Some people recognised the Light and Power and Grace of God.
In a tiny vulnerable human baby.
All the power of The Word in a baby.
A gift.
A saving gift.

What will you do with your words today?

Jul. 12th, 2014

The Quest Is Over!

I've been on a quest for many years!
What's my quest?
To be graceful....and sophisticated....and cool....
I know it will surprise you all to know that I'm none of these things but a girl can dream right?
But even being the dreamer that I am, I think I have finally come to the conclusion my quest is futile.

My epiphany came when I was driving home from work last Thursday.
It was a warm, muggy and damp afternoon so when I squeezed into my car so my door didn't touch the car next to mine (trying to look sophisticated while doing so), I wound down the windows.
Turned on the ignition and the fabulous Stephen Fry started reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkerban to me through the speakers (the ultimate in coolness).
Pulled up at the lights with my arm out the window (in a very sophisticated way of course) then realised that Stephen Fry's volume was up so loud that drivers had started to notice and turn their heads.
Feeling suddenly self-conscious but still completely absorbed in the story he was reading me.....rather than turn the volume down I decided to put the windows up!

Why? I'll never know because in my effort to still listen to the story AND put the electric window up, I left my arm out the car window.
I could feel the window rising up but I DIDN'T MOVE MY ARM!!
Next thing I knew my arm was jammed by the window at the top.
Blinded by pain, I started pressing buttons in a mad attempt to release my arm but realised I had only succeeded in moving the opposite window up and down.
Realising my mistake I pressed the only other button I could see but.... I pressed it the wrong way!!!....resulting in my arm being jammed even more!!
What am I? An idiot?
Don't answer that.

Finally I found the right button and pressed it the right way and released my arm.
I then spent the rest of my time sitting at those lights:
1. Avoiding looking at any of the other drivers who were probably saying to themselves, "Man! That's gotta hurt! Haha!"
2. Pretending that my throbbing arm didn't hurt a bit and forcing my face into a picture of serenity.
3. Trying to rewind to where I lost track of Stephen Fry's dulcet tones.

And that folks....is when I realised I should give up "the Quest".
There's nothing for it but to be.....clumsy, unsophisticated...and as one of my daughters called me....unique!!

Tags:

Jul. 7th, 2014

A Car Show (from a Wife's Perspective!)

There are some days you draw the line and say, "See ya, you're on your own with this one! You'll find me in the coffee shop!"
There are other days, just because you love them....you put your wellies on, stuff your sensible rain-jacket pockets with chocolates to survive the day, jam your woolly cap on your head to stop the rain making your hair go frizzy and you go with them....
Sunday at the Terenure Car Show in Dublin was one of those latter days!

We sat in the car park for a good while waiting for a downpour to pass....."any minute now" says my beloved. Then trying to cover all weather bases I drag myself out of the car wearing a woolly cap, rain jacket, leggings, see-through umbrella (cos you can look through it and stay extra dry)... and sensible walking shoes!
I looked like a hobo! And no....you don't get to see a pic of me!...only what I saw through my amazing see-through umbrella. :)

IMG_3465

As we headed for the gate, it had started to dawn on me that I really wasn't rocking the cool and sophisticated look.... when I spied her. Hanging off the arm of a ridiculously cool car enthusiast guy....she had flowing hair, biker jacket, chic sunglasses and.....heels!
What?! Are you serious?
HOW are you not drenched with bedraggled hair and sinking into the soft muddy grass?

It was then I decided...if you can't beat them....join them!
So I whipped out the iPhone and started to take pics of the cars that I liked.
Here's my version of the day:

I know this....I've got this....wait, don't tell me....its a "Jag"!!
Oh right...it says it on the sign...
IMG_3498

I'm sorry, this is screaming "Wacky Races" at me....remember Dastardly's catchphrases?
"Drat!!! Drat!!! And Double Drat!!!"
IMG_3482

Cruella deVil's car...that's all!
IMG_3457

Those are some big sunnies right there...not sure they take off fashion-wise!
IMG_3480

Awww cutie...its yellow....and it has a smiley face! :)
IMG_3489

Looking pretty damn good for 96 years old lady! (Cars are "shes" right?) And not a walking stick in sight.....
IMG_3477

Now this is what I call caravanning on a budget! Or...caravanning for one! Awesome!....
IMG_3453

Michael J. Fox...you were my secret crush...the famous DeLorean from Back to the Future...see...I knew that! :)
IMG_3451

OK I get that its a 4wd...coming to a show THAT dirty is just showing off!
IMG_3490

Oooooh shiny!....my favourite colour...
IMG_3471

These are just a few of the millions of photos taken by "us budding car enthusiasts".
We ended the day sitting on the grass in the blazing sun, (fickle Irish weather!) and then were treated to an amazing BBQ!
IMG_3500


Thanks Epsteins!

Dec. 6th, 2013

Masks

I've been thinking about this story of mine for weeks.
And when I went to find it I couldn't believe I wrote it 10 years ago!
That is seriously crazy!
Anyway, it has lots of Advent themes in it for me especially coming out of our women's Advent study group this year so....
I thought I'd post it.
wjj

One summer’s day, a child was born….
She was perfect! Pure in her innocence, perfectly trusting.
Her soul was naked, transparent, exposed and fragile.
Her parents thought she was the most beautiful child they had ever seen and gave thanks to God for the gift they had been given.
She filled their senses, completed their togetherness and brought joy to everyone who encountered her.
For a while, things were rosy.
The child grew and everyday learnt new things about the world and how she ought to live.
The child trusted those around her, gave freely of her soul and delighted everyone with her candid honesty.
But slowly things began to change….
Her parents tried to protect her but the child was like a sponge, soaking up anything and everything into her soul…and she learned fast!
Imitating those around her, including her parents, she began to understand that the world in which she lived was not the perfect and loving place she had believed it to be.
She realised that people could hurt each other by the things they said and did; that exposing herself and sharing her soul with those around her, left her open to being hurt; that sometimes her honesty caused her to be ridiculed and get into trouble; that it was important to be cautious with her feelings and that the more hidden her feelings were, the better.
She needed to become more resourceful and protective of her fragile soul.
But how?
Her parents had always been her role models so she decided she needed to watch them even more carefully.
Getting up very early one morning, before it was light, she crept into her parents’ bedroom.
The moonlight shone softly through the window as her parents slept.
Leaning over the bed she looked into their sleeping faces.
To her astonishment and surprise they looked different, almost unrecognisable.
Lying peacefully on their pillows, their faces were windows that bared their souls.
There were no barriers, no protection….no masks….and the child was mesmerised by her parents true selves.
She discovered things she never knew, feelings and emotions that had always been hidden.
And suddenly she understood!!
She watched as her parents awoke and prepared for the day ahead.
They each opened a small oak box on the dresser and carefully picked up their mask.
Like slipping on a shirt or some protective clothing, they lifted their masks into place.
Gone was the vulnerability, gone was the transparency. All weakness and fragility was hidden. Protection in place to face another day.

As the years passed, the child became a teenager, brilliant and complex. Childhood was beginning to fade in her memory.
She became an expert at using her mask to protect her soul.
She had been taught well and learned even better.
But something else was happening.
Sometimes her heart and soul were so full of turmoil and emotions that the masks would slip and those around her would be startled and gasp at the rare glimpses into her true self. She tried really hard to keep her mask in place but she also learned that she could use these “mask-slipping” moments to effect….and people would take notice! (especially her parents!)
Moments of passion, of rage and frustration, of righteous indignation, of despair, of uncertainty and loneliness clashed explosively together with uncontrollable laughter, silliness, pushing the boundaries, and forming bonds of friendship that could never be broken.
Life was there to be lived as if there would never be another day.

Teenage bravado soon faded as she made the transition into adulthood.
As an adult, it was safer to follow the rules.
She knew how to behave appropriately.
She knew what was expected of her and she complied.
She was brave and hid her tears when she felt like crying.
She bit her tongue when she felt like yelling and screaming.
She was cautious and didn’t let herself get too involved with anyone.
But somehow she felt that something was missing.

In the early morning dawn, without her mask, she would lie in the quietness, contemplating her day. It was during these precious times that she began to remember her creator, and how he had made her. It was just little moments at first but more and more she took time to be still with her God. She realised that if she sat very still and listened, she could hear and feel the faint stirring breezes of her childhood and the wilder winds of her adolescence.
Tears of healing fell as she realised that she had almost forgotten about risking all to love, trust and show honesty.
Little by little she allowed herself to feel again.

One day in the quietness, God spoke.
With stunning clarity she saw her soul clearly in all its beauty just as it had been on the day of her birth.
Pure, transparent, innocent and trusting.
She realised with amazement that she had been created in God’s image and that he had only ever wanted His very best for her.
She felt ashamed that for so long she had covered up her true beauty and missed out on sharing her soul with others.
But most of all she was filled with hope knowing that all God wanted was for her to take off the mask and be….herself!

It wasn’t easy at first but gradually there were more and more days when she would forget to put on her mask….on those days, amazing things happened!
Not only was she able to share her soul, but others, being touched by seeing God’s creativity began to take off their masks and share their souls with her!
Barriers were being broken down.
She was growing and being stretched in her faith.
She was getting to know her God….and learning to be herself all over again!
******************************************
One winter’s day, a child was born…..
He was perfect! Pure in his innocence, perfectly trusting.
His soul was naked, transparent, exposed and fragile.
His parents thought he was the most beautiful child they had ever seen and gave thanks to God for the gift they had been given.
He filled their senses, completed their togetherness and brought joy to everyone who encountered him.
His mother looked at him as he lay sleeping peacefully in her arms and quietly breathed her promise to God.
There was no room for a small oak box……..there was no need.

Wendy Johnston
September 2003

Oct. 1st, 2013

Identity

I AM....

A twinkle in my mother's eye!
A parent's dream of me I'm never going to live up to
Well planned....or maybe....
An accident....no lets say...a surprise!
A bump
A cute but silly name they would never call me in real life.....
Or......would they?
A long awaited child
A child they weren't ready for...
Each cell and bone and personality trait forming to become ME
Still completely umbilically dependent
Then...
Birthed in pain and excitement and fear for my future....and love!
Love that is all consuming
My life mapped out for me by parents who want the best for me
My life an open book with blank pages ready for me to create my own destiny
The cord is broken..

A wonder!
A miracle!
So this is what I look like?
A tiny human with a squished up face
IS THIS WHO I AM?...I ask myself...

Whatever I look like....
I'm "Beautiful"....that's right...I'm "Beautiful"!
A boy
A girl
A creation from two people who loved each other
A creation from two people who maybe no longer do or never did
I have my father's chin
I have my mother's eyes
I'm cute
I am unique
There is no one else just like me!
My DNA twists and turns on its double helix forming my identity
IS THIS WHO I AM?....I ask myself.....

But what is my name!
THAT'S my identity....surely?
Named after a beloved grandmother whose influence has wrapped me in its arms
Named in honour of a long dead hero who fought for our family's honour and freedom and survived somehow....or didn't
Named with a name that is a clash of parental imaginations that explode into something new....and weird
Bestowed with a name all my own....
They love it.....I have to live with it....or grow into it....or out of it!
My name places me
My name defines me
My name gives me "a spot" in the universe
My name allows me to start running in the human race
People can't cope when you're nameless...you have to have a name...you just do!
IS THIS WHO I AM?....I ask myself....

I'M...
A son
A daughter
A brother
A sister
A little, ever-expanding human sponge soaking up all that is around me....
Language...habits...behaviour...personality...relationships
All to prepare me to find out who I am in the big wide world
I watch... how to bake cookies and mow lawns but also how to behave towards my best friend and how much respect is shown in my family
I learn...how to draw and finger paint and play games but also how to fear and love and hold grudges and....forgive
I mimic...how to dress up and play "mummies and daddies" but also the tone of voice I speak in
I am...ready to be me!
IS THIS WHO I AM?....I ask myself....

I'M...
A kid
A playmate
A classmate
Teacher's pet
Top of the class...."This Week's Award for Getting All My Spelling Right"
Struggling.... "This Week's Award for Working So Hard At Sitting Still"
I'm the "play maker" in the playground.
I'm the "loner" living my own fantasy
I'm the "King of the Castle"
And "You're the Dirty Rascal!"
"Your ears stick out!"
"My Dad's better than your Dad!",.
I watch
I learn
I cry
I giggle
And at the end of the day I'm still happy to run into those safe arms that tell me I'm the best little kid in the world.
IS THIS WHO I AM?....I ask myself....

I'M...
In between...a tween...
A teen-ager
Not quite an adult - not really a child
Changing at a speed my hormones can't keep up with...
Up and down and wild and happy and sad and uncertain....
The 'New' girl
The 'Popular' guy
Back at the bottom of the food chain
Not wanting to stand out
Not wanting to be unique
Just wanting to fit in....to be the same as everyone else....never realising that we all feel the same!
A trendsetter
A leader
A follower
A bully
A target
A peacemaker
A winner
A loser
A Facebook junkie with 1000 "friends"
A loner with no friends
Sucked into a "celebrity culture" that creates a world and an image of me that is not real
Gullible because I want to be liked
Brave because I stand up for injustice and what I believe!
Smart but....
Dumb because its not cool to be smart
Thin
Chubby
Beautiful!
Creative
Sporty
Interested in boys.....and girls.....

LOST!
IS THIS WHO I AM?....I ask myself...I DON'T KNOW who I am!

I'M...
An adult...apparently!
So one day - you just turn that corner and there you are...
A voter
A driver
A drinker
Responsible?
Thrill-seeking and adrenaline craving
Revelling in freedom
Longing for the free days of childhood when you could be silly and barefoot
Looking for a career path
Looking for direction

WHO and WHAT am I?
I'M
A university student - soaking up knowlege..... or booze
An apprentice - sitting at the feet of a master
A graduate
A failure
A success
An employee
A boss
A traveller and adventurer and wanderer!
A homebody
Content with what I have
Unsatisfied and wanting more
Hospitable and welcoming
A recluse
Wanting to settle down
Single and fiercely independent
Single and longing to find "the One"
How do I know?
Is there such a thing as "the One" "till death do us part!"....?
I choose to commit to you - to make you "my One"
HAPPY
IS THIS WHO I AM?....I ask myself

I'M....
A wife
A husband
Learning to fit with another but still be MYSELF
A coming together of lives - belongings - homes - families - habits - routines
I am one of two joined to become one while still being one of two.
Trying to find the balance
Keeping my own "identity"
Then....sometimes....before you know it...
Coming! Ready or not...
I'M....
A mother
A father
Sometimes....mother and father!
Completely out of my comfort zone!
A natural!
Nurturing this little human being with a squished up face!
What if I mess up?
Where's the manual for this thing?
NOW I'M...
A cook...concocting Michelin Star dinners of "mince 3 ways"
A baker..."who knew I could bake unicorn cup cakes with fairy wings?"
A construction engineer..."what do you mean, this doesn't look like the one in Legoland?"
A linguist..."I know she's only 6 months old but I distinctly heard her say supercalifragilisticexpiallidocious!"
A surgeon..."here let me kiss it better and if all else fails, a plaster will fix anything!"

Then despite all my parental failures and successes
And probably because of them.....
Despite the lack of "a manual"...
But mostly because they've been loved utterly and completely...
Somehow my kids turn out alright making their way into the world to find out who THEY really are... (Good luck with that one!)
SO....WHO AM I NOW?....I ask myself...

I'M...
Lost
Feeling un-needed
Grieving the loss of being able to shape and nurture a little life
Free
Living with a stranger...."till death do us part!"
Divorced
Re-discovering the romance
Remembering why we liked each other so long ago
A student again
A traveller again
Trying to decide if I've done anything good with my life
Trying to decide if I've achieved anything in my life
Wondering if I've made a difference
A success
A failure
Retired
Busier than ever!
Remembering the "good old days"!
A grandmother with an armful of grandkids and a heart big enough to love even the "black sheep" of the family
A grumpy grandfather who is secretly not grumpy at all!
Realising I can still nurture and shape a little life
Content
Worried about my future
A widow...alone
A widower....alone
Alone
Lonely
Missing "my One"
Surrounded by family
Distressed and ill
A body - well worn and worn out!

I'M....
A series of breaths....in and out and in and out and in and out.....
Peaceful
At peace....at last

(Wendy Johnston 1 Oct 2013)

"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day."
Psalm 139:13-16 (The Message)

"It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.
Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us,
had designs on us for glorious living,
part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it
this Message of your salvation,
found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit.
This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming,
a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
Ephesians 1:11-14 (The Message)

Jan. 25th, 2013

Darren John

You came into my world 40 years ago.
Even as I write this, I nearly choke on my cup of tea.
I was 10 years old and you were a mop of orange sprouting from the shawl you were wrapped in as you arrived in a Cessna.
I wasn't impressed!
You were a boy!
I had a perfectly good girls name chosen for the sister I was expecting but.....you were a boy!
What could I do with a brother?
I already had one of those.
(Who I love dearly I might add)
But within minutes of being introduced, you stole my heart.
You slipped in there and wrapped me tight round your little finger.
With your face full of cheeky smiles and freckles you led me on an adventure through childhood again.....frogs and worms.....collections of stones.....kittens, mischief.....and backyard cricket.
You were eternally curious and really smart!
I loved that you knew stuff!
Random stuff!
Really random stuff!
Nothing's changed really :o)
Of course we had our moments.
We knew how to press each others buttons and I do remember having some almighty rows.
It usually started with me being bossy!
(Sorry about that but I was the big sister)
Then everything kicked off when you said, "No!"
And, "You're not the boss of me!"
Ahhh fun times....memories hey?
When you were a teenager, and I had my own girls, they loved their Uncle Darren.
You had a very special relationship then, and you still do.
I've loved watching you grow into an amazing man, husband and father.
You make me laugh!
You get me!
And I love the relationship we have.
I know I could tell you anything and you wouldn't judge me.
So even though we don't see each other every day, you are so important to me.
So you've made it to 40!
It's a pretty good place to be.
Be comfortable in your own skin.
Be kind to yourself.
Cherish your wife.
Play with your kids.
Create space in your day to think, dream and be still.
Happy Birthday Darren
I love you!

Oct. 1st, 2011

(no subject)

Today I curled up in my favourite old chair with this morning's Irish Times, a coffee in my favourite mug that says "Tea Time" and a rare free Saturday stretching in front of me.
Life's pretty good.
2011
October 1st
8:30am
Sleepily I stomp down the stairs dreaming of a monstrous Saturday breakfast.
Fresh berries and yoghurt.
A healthy fry.
Columbian coffee.
I open the fridge.
No milk.....no eggs.....no yoghurt!
The bacon and strawberries are beyond their dates and are headed for the bin.
What a waste!
Why can't people replace things when they run out
IT'S JUST NOT RIGHT!
So I head for the shop.
With my arms full of bits and pieces I join the queue to pay.
Suddenly someone decides to jump in front of me.
How can someone be so rude?
How dare they push in ahead?
I really feel like saying something!
IT'S JUST NOT RIGHT!
Then while I'm standing there behind the queue intruder, secretly fuming, I start to study her, I mean really study her.
Her arms are overflowing with groceries, the weekend paper and a take away coffee.
She's older than I'd thought at first with a cap wedged tightly down on her head.
Then I notice little tufts of straggly hair peeking out from underneath her cap.
She has no eyelashes and no eyebrows.
She's stick thin and has an oxygen tube in her nose.
I stop in my tracks.
Conscience check!
I stop thinking about myself and start thinking about her.
I wonder what her story is?
Why do I feel like my needs are more important than someone else's?
Why am I filled with righteous indignation about the perceived wrongs that are done to me?
I tap her on the shoulder and start a conversation about the rain.
She turns and gives me a smile from the heart.
She lets me carry her shopping.
How different was my day after that?
I want to be a girl with hope.
I want to be a girl that doesn't give in to bitterness and judgement.
I want to be a girl who is unselfish and giving.

1945
VE Day

The doorbell rings persistently.
I'm sitting next to the wireless, listening without believing.
I finally drag myself out of my threadbare chair to answer the door.
The raggedy child from No.3 is jumping up and down on my porch.
"Didya hear Mrs J? Didya hear? The war is over!"
People are shouting.
Church bells are pealing.
Factory whistles are blowing.
It seems like the whole world is rejoicing - but not me.
"It's peace!" they yelled.
"The war's been won!"
"Our sons and husbands are coming home!"
I quietly close the door on the noise.
"Not all of them" I whisper and my tears fall again.
I feel like I've been crying for years.
My heart feels broken - I can't feel joy and hope even though the world has gone crazy with joy and hope.
IT'S JUST NOT RIGHT!
Why did my husband have to die?
Out of all those who went to serve and protect their country, why was my beloved one of the ones who never made it home?
I cover my ears with my hands to shut out the celebrations that are invading.
And I cry bitterly.
IT'S JUST NOT RIGHT!
Then a little hand breaks through my sadness and tears, tugging on my sleeve.
She bounces up and down.
"Mummy stop crying now. It's me! Can you hear the bells Mum? Everyone is running outside! Can we go too?"
I stop in my tracks.
Reality check.
I need to go into this new future.
So my child learns how to hope.
So my child learns not to give into bitterness.
So my child learns to give even when it hurts.
We leave the house holding hands and step into the noise and joyful devastation to start again.

It's just not right!
What if God said that?
He'd have every right wouldn't He?

God created us in His own image.
God put us in charge of a wonderful created home.
And we turned our back on Him.
It's just not right!

So God parted with His Son.
He gave Him up.  To live among us. 
And we decided to end His life.
It's just not right!

But God was bigger than our actions.
He wasn't finished with us yet.
He rose again to save us!
He never once gave up on us.
He wants us to have hope
He wants us to live and love without bitterness.
He wants us to give of ourselves unselfishly.
And think of others instead of ourselves.

Then we can do nothing but be like our Creator.












Jun. 29th, 2011

I'm going to try this today....

I love this imagery!  I pinched it from an entry that's going in to the Prayer Focus for the Methodist Church in Ireland!

Christians in the early Celtic church had a special way of understanding God’s love and eternal provision. The Celtic word was caim, which was a protective circle. People imagined a circle drawn around themselves and the people they loved. Sometimes they would actually draw a circle around themselves by making a mark on the ground with a stick. Sometimes they would draw an imaginary circle around themselves with their pointed finger. Their prayer was ‘Circle me, O God.’ They believed that God was close to them and not far away.

 

Try drawing an imaginary circle around yourself…..

 

You might like to think about the following words as you imagine yourself in the circle of God’s love.

 

You, Lord, never fail to have pity on me; your love and faithfulness always keep me secure.

PSALM 40:11

 

The Lord loves justice, and he won’t ever desert his faithful people. He always protects them.

PSALM 37:28

 

The Lord is your protector, there at your right side to shade you from the sun…The Lord will protect you now and always wherever you go.

PSALM 121:5,8

 

(Creative Ideas for Quiet Corners, p94-95.)   

Jun. 16th, 2011

Don't waste today...

I've been thinking lately about the amount of time we waste being cross or annoyed or hurt by what others say or do to us or righteously indignant (I'm good at that one!) instead of filling our time with being loving and encouraging and understanding and patient and all those things that make us feel alive and at peace with God.  Why do we do it?
I don't have an answer.  Sorry!
But I AM challenged.
I'm challenged to do the opposite of what would be expected of me in certain situations.
To be quiet when I would be justifed in yelling.
To hold my tongue when I'm right instead of making my point.
To be gentle when society expects ruthlessness.
To see the good in a situation that appears to be hopeless.
To forgive when society teaches us to sue and get our own back just because it serves them right.
To hug and touch when you feel like punching!
To love....simply because God first loved us....no other reason!  Because.....

Here's a few lines I read today from my man Max :)


Today I will make a difference. I will begin by controlling my thoughts. A person is the product of his thoughts. I want to be happy and hopeful. Therefore, I will have thoughts that are happy and hopeful. I refuse to be victimized by my circumstances. I will not let petty inconveniences such as stoplights, long lines, and traffic jams be my masters. I will avoid negativism and gossip. Optimism will be my companion, and victory will be my hallmark. Today I will make a difference.

I will be grateful for the twenty-four hours that are before me. Time is a precious commodity. I refuse to allow what little time I have to be contaminated by self-pity, anxiety, or boredom. I will face this day with the joy of a child and the courage of a giant. I will drink each minute as though it is my last. When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever. While it is here, I will use it for loving and giving. Today I will make a difference.

I will not let past failures haunt me. Even though my life is scarred with mistakes, I refuse to rummage through my trash heap of failures. I will admit them. I will correct them. I will press on. Victoriously. No failure is fatal. It’s OK to stumble… . I will get up. It’s OK to fail… . I will rise again. Today I will make a difference.

I will spend time with those I love. My spouse, my children, my family. A man can own the world but be poor for the lack of love. A man can own nothing and yet be wealthy in relationships. Today I will spend at least five minutes with the significant people in my world. Five quality minutes of talking or hugging or thanking or listening. Five undiluted minutes with my mate, children, and friends.

Today I will make a difference.

written by Max Lucado from his book Shaped by God
www.maxlucado.net/_product_30305/Shaped_By_God_%28Gift_Edition%29

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