I choose you.
I dug you up and moved you.
I knew you would take over, I knew you would spread and thrive in my garden.
You are greedy, feeding, chocking indiscriminately you grow.
Excluding light, depriving nourishment, yet I let you grow.
I choose you. I planted you.
I have spent the morning weeding my garden. One particular troublesome plant took up most of my time. It’s a plant that I desired and wanted. I knew it was a bad idea when I planted it. My want was bigger than my horticulture knowledge. My want was bigger than the hours needed to maintain this thug of a plant.
Removing and reducing this plant I was suddenly stuck how it was like forgiveness.
The plant was a problem that I was able to deal with. It has to be dealt with otherwise it will outgrow and destroy my garden.
It will stop other plants fruiting, it will prevent seeds from forming, it will overpower.
Kneeling in the garden digging out its invasive roots the power of Gods grace was overpowering.
That connectedness to the soil, to life and how fragile it can be. How much we need to nurture and hold creation.How God is in everything we do.
Removing this plant, decreasing its size, is not about control. It’s about acknowledging it’s spreading nature. Understanding that its roots run deep. It’s a woodland plant not really suitable for the garden. It’s doing what it was created for, to grow and survive.
In reducing its size I make space for light and fresh growth.
Reducing this plant was totally for my benefit ( not the plants ) Just as forgiveness is not for the other person but for me. Forgiveness gives me space, that allows me to grow. Forgiveness removes the choking thoughts and emotions, it breaks me free from the roots that trap me. Forgiveness allows light and warmth back into my life. Forgiveness is not an emotion but a choice that I must make. As with the gardening, it’s a choice.
My plant will keep coming back, keep trying to take over my garden. I will never stop having to reduce it. Just as all my life I will need to turn to God and ask for forgiveness. Without forgiveness, my heart will harden and I will fail to trust and see the beauty that surrounds me.
Matthew 18:21-22 The Message (MSG)
21 At that point, Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
22 Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.
Day 34 – Lent challenge – Accept.
I sat on my mums lap, her arms wrapped around me. She moved slowly and rhythmically as she held me in her arms. It comes so naturally to her. We sat together with other families listening to the story of Jacob and Esau.
A story where sibling rivalry try’s to distort and destroy all it touches. The story of two bothers fighting over the love of their father, fighting over what they both consider to be rightfully theirs. It’s God that sees these two brother reunited .
My beautiful mother knows so well the pain caused when siblings fight each other. You see my sister and I are not exactly the best of friends.
This lack of friendship does not stop me loving my sister. Just as last night I was not to big ( just over sized ) to sit on my mums lap. Being held in her love surrounded by Gods love.
Listening to a story that in so many ways echoes my own relationship with my sister.
Our story is a painful story. The saddest thing about our story is we both hurt the person we love; our mum. I can no longer accept this. I would never want my actions to hurt others. So why do I constantly hurt my mum.
The biggest reason is fear. It’s a selfish fear for which I am sorry. It’s a fear that my sister will hurt me as she has done in the past. I fear her scheming, deception and the way she can manipulate me. Taking advantage of my weaknesses, leading me to a place of trust only to hurt me as she has done before.
This is no longer an acceptable way to behave. I no longer have to face these fears alone, I am ready to move forward. Taking that leap of faith, knowing that wherever I land God will be with me. In my weakness, he is strong. I pray that we can be reconciled together in some way. What ever way this happens I know God will be a part of that reunion. A reunion that will give peace and joy to my mum.
Last night as we were listened to the story of Jacob and Esau the listening turned into acting. The last part of this story is reconciliation and of course a hug. It’s amazing how much more powerful words are when accompanied by actions. We all played roles, I was one of many donkeys. Jacob and Esau were played by twin boys. Seeing these boys walk towards each other and give each other a awkward hug was profound and moving . After a hug we had prayers. We prayed for people that we wanted to build relationships with. We prayed for broken relationships and healing.
Praying with children and their families is always a privilege and a joy. Being with them as they explore and grow in faith is awesome . I get so excited by their prayers. The language the children use to talk to God is always so pure and humbling. It excites me how obvious children make faith, how uncompleted it is to them. As adults we over complicate something so simple and beautiful as prayer.
A Prayer for my sister.
This is pray for my sister.
I pray from my heart through you to her heart.
I ask that we see each other and love each other as sisters should.
That in this loving we heal past hurts and soothe past deeds.
I ask for forgiveness for the pain we both cause to each other and those that love us.
I pray that our families can be joined in love, your love.
Lord I ask that somehow you open doors and opportunities for our relationships to heal and grow.
That we will have the wisdom to see and use these opportunities for love. That from that love friendships may form and grow.
I pray for the sense and understanding to be realistic and accept the path this journey will take.
Please give me the strength to listen to you. I ask that my words will be kind, my thoughts loving and my actions sincere.
I ask that we will find peace hope and forgiveness as we journey with you.
2 Corinthians 12:9 Good News Translation (GNT)
9 But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me.
Day 31- Lent challenge – Retreat.
This blog is to author Paul Young.
2017 Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday I went on a personal unplanned retreat into a virtual world. An absorbing journey that seeks to provide answers to the question ” Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?”
A journey that confirmed what I already knew. A journey that gave story to my pain. A journey into the pages of a novel. Deep into the pages of a book.
“The Shack” by Paul Young.
I know this book has it critics. It’s said not to be theological sound, incorrect in its teachings even a danger to the christian faith.
To me “The Shack” is a powerful novel telling a story of grief and pain. God’s love giving comfort to those who have been overwhelmed by tragedy. It does not try to be anything else. It tells a story; a story that tells us nothing new. A story that tells us God is good. A story that added depth and understanding to the questions that played on my mind.
The story brings the issues of forgiveness and places them in a modern world. It gives a voice to frustration and anger caused by pain, heart felt pain. Theirs real understanding that when bad things happen it hurts.The shack shows us, walks with us through our emotions to a place of forgiveness.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean we forget or accept someone’s actions. It’s forgiveness that releases angry burdens that we carry. In that letting go of angry we heal slowly, we heal in love.
God is always their in our deepest hurts, regrets, and longings.
One of my deepest hurts was a short car journey to say goodbye to a special little person.
I could feel God was with us on that short journey. It was obvious and powerful.
The shack made me think more about the three people in the car that day. Seeing us as three individuals traveling together, each of us having a deep personal individual relationship with Jesus .
We were on the same journey in the same car, all with our own different emotional needs.
These needs were acknowledged and meet by God. Intimate conversations lovingly whispered. Our own taylor made personal emotional survival kit. Through the pain God did not leave us.
Taylor made support surrounded by love.
I knew all this all before reading “The Shack “. But it was not until reading the book did I realise how comforting that was to me. How important it was to me that the little person that I loved so much was not alone. Jesus her special friend was with her. Never leaving her, being where I could not.
As this little person told me herself so many times. “Jesus is my friend he’s always with me. He’s with me in the playground, he’s with me at bed time, he never leaves me”.
It’s strange how obvious some things are. How we deeply know them to the point that knowing becomes a feeling. We read listen, are told over and over again; We understand .Yet it took a trip to “ The Shack “ for me to realise the depth, vastness, greatness, wholeness and the comfort of what it means to know you are never alone.
Isaiah 49:16 Good News Translation (GNT)
Jerusalem, I can never forget you!
I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
Day 19– Lent challenge – Forgive.
Finding faith though the actions of others is powerful.
Today’s blog is for the lady that shared her faith with me: She showed me forgiveness.
A forgiveness that comes from God not us. A forgiveness that does not nag, does not say I remember when. It’s a wholeness a newness that I had never experienced before.
With that forgiveness came friendship and trust. Without her honestly and openness we could have never moved forward together.
In that moving forwarding I gave myself permission to painfully let go .To accept the role of the foster carer was to let go. To facilitate the moving of our foster son to his forever home.
I realised he was never mine to keep. He was a gift that I held and loved. He was someone else’s hopes and dreams.
Adoption is about love and a transfer of trust. The trust came from forgiveness. My pain of letting go was understood. My love acknowledged. Joy and happiness was my pain and grief. Forgiveness allowed me to be part of the joy in welcoming a very special boy into his new family.
I never expected adoption would be a gift for me too.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Reading someone else’s blog the following words shouted out from the page.
“You had a choice,” she said, “but you did not have free will.” A choice that was no choice at all.
These words have been said to me in similar ways more than once in the last 18 months. In my grief they offered no comfort. I was not ready to hear the words “no choice”, not ready to believe that I had no choice at all.
I had no choice but to turn and walk away.
Holding you in my arms, I told you a life with this new family would be so much better than a life with me.
Expressed my happiness in all that was happening.
I told you that it was going to amazing and wonderful.
A choice that was no choice at all.
I hugged you a hug of a thousand words.
Inward tears streamed inside of me .
I smiled so you understood it was ok.
A smile that was just muscles moving my face.
It was a smile that wanted to scream.
I had no choice but to smile.
No choice but to leave and not look back.
I could not look back.
You trusted me.
You could not see my face grumbling in grief .
Relief momentarily numbed the pain.
Relief that I held it together.
Relief that I made it outside before I gave into searing heat of breaking pain.
A choice that was no choice at all.
No choice is why I could not cry.
No choice why you could not stay.
I had no choice but to leave and say goodbye.
I had free will but no choice.
Please let your will be done in my life. If it’s not your will let it slip through my grasp. Give me the strength to forgive those that hurt the ones I love. Give me the courage to face my fears. The peace not to worry about the things I cannot control or change.
New year resolutions always seem so full of promise. The reality is they often are long forgotten by February.
From childhood my new years resolutions have always included to stop sucking my thumb.
The reality is this will never happen . The comfort my thumb gives me far out ways the new years resolution. It’s my built in ability to calm and relax myself at any place and time. Why would I want to stop !
“My one word is an experimental idea to move beyond the cycle of broken resolutions. The challenge is simple instead of making unrealistic challenges – You pick one word to focus on every day all year .
One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.
For 2018 my one word is patience .
God is patient , I am not. I have a acknowledged my lack of patience many times over 2017.
The patience of God is staggering, I think of all the times God has been so close to me yet I failed to look.
God is patient towards me as he refines, develops and strengthens me.
I thank God for the patience that is shown to me by others. The patience that at times I do not deserve.
I will blog more on patience as I explore what it means to me.
2 Thessalonians 3:5
And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
Surfacing looking for clean love filled air – God air
Breathing in as much as my mind and heart can hold.
Suppressing the urge to breathe it out.
Holding, searching always looking for another pocket of love air.
You would have thought God would make love air so it never runs out, always plentiful and easy to find.
God air is everywhere if we breathe hard enough and want it.
It’s not for sale, infused to perfection, blended and mixed.
Personalized to the last second of time.
Air that heals, Air that says “I Know “ Air that cry’s with you. Air that holds you until the next breath.
Air that’s in abundance yet, takes time to make, craft and blend.
It’s easier to breathe the old stale air of me.
Tastes so familiar no need to hold it, put in the effort to seek and make more.
Its air that once belonged to me.
It sinks to the bottom and takes you down
Down to a place that’s dense with old me.
A place that God air is hard to find.
Breathing it in is lazy – breathing it out hurts.
It’s thick. Chokes my creative thoughts.
It drags, pulls, takes me to places I don’t want to go.
Holding my breath not tempting to breath the foul old air of me.
Standing up in the clean air of love.
Breath that fills and inspires.
The amazing thing about God air is when you breathe it in it’s for you.
When you breathe it out others feel it too.
Angry air, chocking air breathed out by others that cross my path.
Drifting swills of soupy murky dark filled air.
Blown and directed at me.
Dragging me pulling to places I don’t want to be.
It’s tearing me apart inside. It’s you I want at my side.
It’s all the love and peace you bring
I need to learn to walk away, not to feel the hurt I do today
Hurting like it never hurt before.
My prayer today is just for me
Help me listen and see what it is you what from me.
Help me stop just long enough to see your love among the pain that litters and fills my life.
Help me stand up so tall that it’s only your air that I breathe.
Please calm the angry waters give me the strength to come up for air and reach out to you.