This flower this day, it stopped me in my tracks. I hit the breaks in my car just to pull over and draw closer. This bright flower, it was growing right there in the hardened road, its roots tucked deep beneath the unforgiving pitch, its frail leaves stretching bravely above, its golden petals curling courageously, extravagantly, unabashed reaching toward the sun.
When do we lose it? The childhood urge within to clamber up the nearest tree and drink in all that lovely life-breathing green, feeling the intoxicating exhilaration of being off the ground, alive in our senses and closer, higher, nearer to Heaven somehow. When do we lose this life-embracing child’s heart? The joyful, joy-filled, unselfconscious giggling glee of an all-in, wholehearted existence?
Questions, Answers and the Stories in Between
This man, this day, he thought he had the answers: easy. He was an expert in answers. But he was about to learn: God is in the questions.
Drawing in the Dust
When God formed the first human beings into humanity He knelt down into the grit of things and let the cool clay clump between his fingers and cake on His palms. When He created humankind, He got grit under His fingernails and dust around His wrists. His hands got dirty.
Words weighing nothing, as light as breath can drag a soul down, pinning the human spirit to the mat. We know this because we’ve lived the truth of it in our hearts. The truth that words are anything but weightless. They build. They tear. They lift. They crush. We know the feeling. The feeling of the weight of words on our shoulders. Pressing. Pushing. These welting words of others can become the caves we dwell in. Our broken hearts rebuilt. Into prisons. Into caves.
We live our questions, but God always answers with His... Where are you?
The Adventure Hots Up on the Homeward Stretch…
Hello Friends, How are you? I hope you’ve had a moment to trail along with us a little over the last week now that we’re walking with Jesus as our guide. This week we’ll start heading towards Jerusalem in time for the first Palm Sunday. And to be honest, our journey will not be without some conflict... Continue Reading →
How to Walk on Water in a Storm
We learn fear. Life teaches it to us blow by blow. Sometimes by a trauma, sometimes by the slow drip of disappointment corroding courage, usurping hope. We tried. And failed. We got bitten. And bled. We got knocked down. And lived there.
Sometimes life can feel like a storm. And sometimes like a drowning. Like a flailing about without much to hang onto. Like a slow death by silence, soundlessly sinking in the waves of life.
Sometimes the loneliness scrapes at your skin, the longing to belong, to be accepted. You watch the others laugh and smile and bask in the glow of community and you know, you are convinced, deep in the bruised, dark places of your heart that there must be something wrong with you.
The thing is, underneath it all, so often we’re not sure. Not sure who we are, not sure that we’re valuable, not sure where to place our feet in all this whirling world. Who am I? What on earth and I here for? What does it all mean?
Power. It undoes us. And like a drug, once hooked we crave for more. Whether it is the power of knowledge, of social status, of influence or of wealth, once we have it, we feel naked without it. So our fist grips tighter around it, and our reach extends wider for more, more, more, more.
We live in a natural world. But also a supernatural one. A world where wars rage in the material as well as the spiritual. We may think the weapons of Spiritual warfare are complex, exotic or strange. But actually nothing could be further from the truth.
Freedom. It’s always been complicated for the human race. Sometimes I wonder if we even know what it truly is. We make our choices freely and then our choices make us, building our existence around us. Choice by choice.
‘How long o Lord’ the psalmist sings, and our human hearts echo his words. As years roll on with pain and disappointment and darkness. How long Lord? How long? The psalmist, he knew this song because his people had lived it. Waiting on God. For, how long? There are days when ‘how long’ feels like too long.
Some little gifts to encourage you…
Hello. How are you? What a journey this last week has been! We’ve met some pretty courageous women of faith as they face down the despot of their time and we've begun to travel alongside Moses on his epic walk to Egypt. This week we’ll continue to walk alongside Moses as he does battle with... Continue Reading →
Scars and Story
Scars. We have them, and not just on the outside, numb lumps of tissued skin, but within us, numb lumps of scarring memory pushed into the recesses of our hearts, unseen, where we can pretend they don’t exist. And there they remain, silent, but still at work in every thought, word and action of our existence.
All real power belongs to God. And He chooses to use it in very different ways to human beings. Lasting change in this world is brought about not by might and strength. Lasting change comes by small people who’s hearts are beating in time with God’s, stepping out courageously with Him into the dark, armed only with the conviction that giants will fall before them, because God and them are strong.
I closed the well worn, well loved Bible picture book and put it on the bed. My four year old son beamed up at me, eyes bright and alive, “Mummy” he said importantly “I’m gonna fight Goliath! Because God and me are strong!”. You can guess at the story we’d just read and probably guess at my mothers-heart response. I smile still as I remember this moment. The moment this tiny little boy, barely up to my waste in hight, named a truth larger than any giant.
It's easy for a word to go unnoticed on a page, overlooked in a sentence or brushed by in a paragraph. But this word is one we cannot overlook. It’s startling. Striking. Like cold water splashed on a face. Not because the word itself is confronting, but because of He who says it.
Patterns of Grace
Abram, his name meant ‘exalted father’.
But he wasn’t.
Sending you some gifts…
I am so thrilled to put into your hands a few more fun encouragements for your journey this week. I hope they bless you in any small way they can.
Into the Unknown…
In the shadow of the serpent many things were lost and broken, precious things, beautiful things, things that God had woven deep within the sinews of our Imago Dei being and threaded into the rhythm of our beating human hearts. This image of God within human beings now wisps threadbare thin, torn threads pulling apart, fraying at the edges, floating on the breeze of history...
There are stormy days when the sky weeps. And days when God is grieving with it. Days when the darkness in humankind overcomes the light that once was us...
There are stormy days when the sky weeps. And days when God is grieving with it. Days when the darkness in humankind overcomes the light that once was us. How does God's heart so full of love, so full of goodness, witness all this breaking sadness that has become His children’s reality, and not break also?
Being lied to cuts like glass, and we’ve all felt the gash. It comes with being human- losing faith in human words. Trustworthiness is now an earned attribute, not an assumed one. And even those who earn it often fail us, falling into the temptation to let words smooth over the rough edges of life: “I’m fine”, “You look great” “It’s going to be alright, I promise”...
Just a Few Days To Go (And A Few Gifts..)
Are you soon ready for our journey together? Just a few days now and the story begins, our Long Walk through the long story of grace, our strolling, rambling adventure with God on the trails He’s beaten back in search of His wandering children.
The Most Beautiful Word on Earth
This word, it holds everything within it. Every plan of God, every explanation of His actions, every motivation of His heart. It is the one word that sums up the story of the Bible from start to finish...
Walk On… So my son, these years ago, we gave him this Bible, an 'Action' Bible. And then throughout that Lent, as we read our Bible stories and hung our decorations daily on our Easter story tree, we all soaked together in the long story of grace, the story of God walking with His people.... Continue Reading →
He is Risen! Happy Easter!
Happy Happy Happy Easter! He is Risen! Time to celebrate! Well you have made it all the way to Easter Sunday! But this long story of grace isn't over yet! In many ways it's just getting started! But today is the day we've been anticipating all along. So take a moment to celebrate. To sit... Continue Reading →
It’s strange how loss can leave you so emptied out on the inside and so disconnected from the outside. The outside world right there, just above your skin. Like all that’s left is a brittle shell. Echoing. Distant.
The senses. They all collapse into this stormy sea of grief and the waves crash and roar and drown out all sound, drench out all touch, saturate all presence but the ever present dark. The presence of the hole. The gaping wound in reality where He once dwelt....
Good Friday It wasn't supposed to be this way? “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work... Continue Reading →
Empires, Kingdoms and Truth on Trial
Who is the true King of this world? Who is it you want? As King?
There were two gardens. Two gardens in this long tread of time. And God walked in them both. So did frail humanity, humanity forged in the image of God forgetting themselves and forsaking God. This is the story of the first garden, but only part of the story of the second.
This one brave heart. The one who wasn't wondering what others might think. She had thrown all caution (and all cultural propriety) to the wind and thrown herself at Jesus feet.
Our lives are all part a story, folded into time, a longer story, a larger story. A story stretching from the beginning of time and reaching through to the end of it. The story of God’s long walk with human beings. The long story of His grace journeying to find us.
The story we human beings miss, miss-shape and misunderstand, most of the days of our lives.
Drawing in the Dust
Breath. How do you restore it when it's been strangled out of a soul? How do you help a breathless world catch its breath in wonder?
We say ‘sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you’, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will break our hearts. Slowly. Eroding our God-breathed-Imago Dei with the slow drip of rejection and the corrosive power of false narratives labelling us less; names short on grace, names short on hope, names that fall short of the name God breathed into us from the genesis of our existence.
Sometimes our brokenness is easy to see, like a broken leg, or an open wound, but broken hearts are less visible to the eye, unless of course that eye is God’s...
Jesus didn’t come to earth to entertain us with stories. He didn’t come to ensure that we had the theological story straight, He didn’t come to correct our doctrines. He didn’t come to answers all our questions.
He came to be the question, 'where are you?'
He came to be the Word, a seed planted deep into soil.
He came to be the seed, sewn into our lives and hearts producing new life.
He came to be our hope, restoring our breath when we have lost ourselves to the mud.
And He came to be the revolution, birthing a Kingdom come.
Why was Jesus sleeping? Who can sleep in a thunderstorm? Who can be anything but thrown about by a raging of emotion? Who is this that just doesn’t seem to feel it when the world is falling apart? Who?
A New Tradition… Our Favourite!
You'll love this one... it's our favourite part of Easter!
Day 27 Calling 'So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.' Luke 5:11 Found in Luke 5:1-11 Matthew 4:18-22 and Matthew 9:9-13 The thing is, underneath it all, so often we’re not sure. Not sure who we are, not sure that we’re valuable, not sure where to place our feet... Continue Reading →
God has all the power Satan tempted Jesus with and more. He could dominate, He could take the world by force as Satan offered it. But He doesn't. Instead of coming with an army to control us, He came as a vulnerable human being to woo us, to walk with us, to win us. With love.
And here, echoing down through time is one of the greatest stumbling blocks humankind has when it gazes into the possibility of the existence of God. How can a good God allow human suffering? How can struggle and pain and suffering be God's will?
The greatest weapon used against us is ourselves, and the greatest weapon we have in our defence is...
He didn’t come to be with us in our ducks-in-a-row existence. He didn't come to be with us in our comfortable and convenient answers. He didn't come to be with us in our neat and tidy church buildings. He didn't come to be with us in our lives on the 'right' side of town. He didn't come to be with us in our righteousness and wealth. He came into our poverty, our want, our pain, our fear, our brokenness. Our need.
A Surprise… Can you guess?
So... I have a surprise...
But the opposite of fear isn’t courage. Neither is it fearlessness. The opposite of fear is seeing. God with you...
The Doorway to Freedom
There is never really an argument between the light and the dark. Only a defeat. The dark may be tangible, but the light is unquenchable.
God sees us. He sees who we truly are long before we do. He sees the authentic shape of our beating heart and strengthens us to be… ourselves.
Forgiveness is a battle cry into the expansive whirling universe soundlessly shouting, ‘there is a bigger story, a bigger reality than all my aching anguish, a larger will at work than the perpetrators of all my pain, a stronger heartbeat than my beaten human heart. There is a God of love. With me. So, even in the dark, tomorrow is always new and I am always free!’