The magic of Christmas

 

Does anyone do a Christmas Parade better than Disney?

Though we were standing in a ‘desert’ land, Los Angeles, and even if it was a little chilly, we weren’t quite ready for what we were to experience.

The ‘heavens’ opened and we starting to be showered with tiny white snowflakes that fluttered gently down over the whole of Main Street, Disneyland….and, you won’t believe it, the flakes filled the air with the familiar, memory-evoking fragrance of spiced cookies!

And then came the fireworks, flashing over Snow White’s Castle, the occasional shooting star coming out of nowhere and streaming across the night canvas, making us wish we could just stay here forever. Genius!  (Here I would insert the words :Ohhh Emmm Geee, but I would receive an outcry from certain relatives and descendants were I to do that, so I won’t.) 

DISNEY Christmas Fireworks

Had I EVER seen such a magnificent display of light and music and beauty all in one? Rare, I tell you!  Even the legendary show of Sydney Harbour on a New Year’s Eve was not a match for this,(argh! Sacrilege!) I think it was the skilled and experienced marriage of music and memory in a masterful stroke which now brought corporate reflection, its inspiration literally thrilling the crowd.  We stood, transfixed.  And we reminded ourselves to remember this Disney miracle!

I sat down to spend some time with the Saviour this morning, in a quiet house of Sleeping Beauties (I’m staying at my daughter’s LA apartment and of course this is an hour on a Saturday when no man or woman should be up and roaming the streets, after all it’s only 9am). Not even a mouse was stirring.  (Sorry, a Christmas metaphor. We don’t have mice.)

And there….Lo and Behold (to use some fine Christmas language…)  There, in my trusty devotional from the legendary Billy Graham, was written the reason for my focus and subsequent elated response to the Presence of Jesus, which was now so, well… palpable. Yep, could actually feel it…

His presence.  With me.  On a quiet Saturday morning. No fireworks. No pretty, smelly snowflakes.  Just me.  And Him.

“God – you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, travelling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last!”

(Ps 63:1-4)

And I thought….although I was moved to my bootstraps (sorry, my sandal straps) last night at Disneyland, and though I felt like I could fly like a Tinkerbell given a couple of lessons, or soar like Peter (Pan, not Cephas) because I felt so high and free….it was a release of emotion and memory and all the things that Disney is so very clever at bringing out in me.  It wasn’t until this morning when I sat and read Truth in the Bible that I realised something.

Emotion, feeling, happiness and great memory can all give me a lovely feeling that washes over me in touchy-feely loveliness, and that’s just great…..But it really is Truth that brings my spirit into play with my soul. That’s the eternal part of me. 

Lovely and inspirational as it is, it is simply not the Eternal Message of Christmas itself …  

Imagine, if you will, poorly clothed and under-educated men called shepherds, diligently minding a ragtag bunch of animals on the side of a Judean Hill in the First Century….The sky fills with supernatural beings who chorus in songs that have such a Heavenly lilt and pitch to them that it is clearly out of this world. And lights – more stars and light than they have ever ever seen, bringing to the unpretentious hearts of down-to-earth men the most brilliant Hope. Their hearts sink and soar at once, and they feel the whole ball and dice of emotion in a second. And Heaven’s glow washes them, inspires them and scares them out of their wits…all at the same time, as it comes to earth in a blaze of Glory.

Now that’s something, don’t you think?

Not that Disney is not. Something, I mean.  And I sincerely thank you, Walt, for inspiring and leading a movement (struggled with that word, but surely Disney is not just a ‘company’) that encourages people to ‘believe again’.  We honour you and thank you. Don’t want to denigrate what you’re doing to inspire yet again a generation.  You’re brilliant!

But let’s not think it’s a match for what has already visited our planet.  It’s not to be compared with what continues to be celebrated across the nations and peoples of our world every year at this time.  It’s not to be substituted for the Christmas Story that comes to us from long ago, remaining as an inspiration for all who will turn and take a look…

It won’t smell of spiced cookies, but it will change you. The lights won’t be manufactured, but will be a reflection of the Heavenly Host that was created so long ago. The sound will be from the heart of One who cares for you alone, even on a quiet Saturday morning in your lonely house. Because, He cares.  Deeply.

Love the Disney experience!   But, if you will, embrace the Jesus story. Find out about His heart for you that is Forever. Remember, there is a Story that is everlasting, ‘magical’ and amazing…we hear about it each Christmas, but it’s real and it’s ready to bring Heaven to us on Earth. Can you hear it?

SHEPHERDS

 

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Kindness at the coffee shop

photo credit:  Linh H. Nguyen http://photopin.com"
photo credit:
Linh H. Nguyen
http://photopin.com”

I order my latte with whole milk.

None of this ‘low fat’ stuff…..I like the creamy, rich taste in my coffee. Personal choice.

I select a place in the sun.  The table has four chairs, and there’s only me. I sit down anyway.  No point considering others when no one knows me here, right?  What to do as I slowly sip the nectar of the morning.  Bible? Computer, catch up on emails? Perhaps just chill and look out the window at this beautiful spring morning…. But today the Message calls….

As I read about the some of the last words of Paul the Apostle in 2 Timothy and write thoughtfully about the closeness of a Saviour who is always there even when others have ‘run’, even when we may feel deserted and alone…I am engrossed.  Suddenly a voice from a table behind me disturbs…. interrupting my train of thought. After a while it really invades my space.  So naturally I reluctantly listen in on the conversation.

“So what are you reading today my friend?  Oh…First Samuel? “

My ears prick up. 

Unexpected, the answer comes in garbled speech that only the person mouthing the sounds understands, surely. Certainly I do not.  Words stream out of the responder’s mouth like coins from a Vegas slot machine as the jackpot is hit.  Words that speak care, remarkably loving.

No one else in the coffee shop even seems to notice.  So I return to my own world.

I hear an attempt at words again….His thoughts tumble all over the coffee shop as he fights to bring what’s happening in his mind out in the open. My seated friend responds.

And immediately it takes me back.  To a man who impacted my life like few others.  Ever.  His was a brain tumour, but today, whatever the cause, the garbled words of the man behind my chair on the next table brings back a memory buried and forgotten on this lovely spring day in Minnesota. Perhaps only Jesus knows what he is really trying to say.

And then attention turns to the caring, beautiful words of the first man.  Slowly he translates the words and stamps the gobbledygook sentences with value and integrity. He looks into the eyes of the one whose words are imprisoned, trapped inside his body.  Knowing his thoughts and communicating with the same Saviour with whom I was also communicating seconds before.  The man is trapped in a world which values communication, but in its own style.

The kind hearted man sees further than appearances.

As the stilted but friendly conversation ends, there’s a knitting of two hearts and a common love for Jesus.  There in the coffee shop.  Words of no meaning it seems, in my understanding.  And yet a world of relationship shared this day.

As the man on the table behind me rises to leave, slinging his backpack roughly across his shoulder, he grabs his takeout cup of coffee and thoughtfully sips. Lifting it in a farewell salute to his friend, he puts his shoulders back, straightening his load. He strides meaningfully between the tables and makes his way for the door.

But on the way he stops again.

So close to me that I can hear his next conversation well now, he bends to chat to an obese young man who’s entered the coffee shop a few minutes before.  This is the kind of guy you avoid.  His are filthy clothes and he sports marks on his shorts at the back where he’s failed to clean himself up….  His demeanor seems jolly, but his appearance is repulsive.  My neighbour deliberately speaks such words of concern and kindness him.  How’s it going with your schooling? How’s your Dad today?  Patting his shoulder. Pouring grace and love all over this misfit of a young man.

He leaves carrying his cup and a sweet smile of contentment breaks out upon the face of the kind coffee shop man.  And as he walks along the footpath outside, and I get a full glimpse of the face that accompanies the even kinder voice…my heart melts.

I can’t stop the tears.

They roll down my cheeks, wrecking my carefully applied mascara and blush, tracking on my skin and inconveniently messing up my preparation.  That’s the thing….unwarranted emotion that creeps up and stops you in your nice, carefully planned spring day, wryly menacing and secretly annoying.

That’s the thing…it’s so inconvenient.

I’d met Jesus today, first hand, in the actions and heart and words of another. I’d eavesdropped in on the words of the Saviour to one of His kids…..

Help me, Lord. I need to be interruptible. Everyday.

Colossians 3:12     Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience

 

 

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MOTHER’S DAY – Like mother, like daughter!

 

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My daughter Elyse and I thought it might be fun to write a blog together for Mother’s Day.  So here is our offering to you, and you can check out her blog as well at http://elysemurphy.com

 Miss three years old!

Miss three years old!

As a mother of three amazing kids…now aged 29, 27 and 24, I have to say that Mother’s Day becomes a time of not a little reflection every year….but today as we thought about writing together, my youngest and I, there were some things that jumped to mind that I have learned!

Three things I have learned from my daughter:

1.             A Mother’s Love Is Inexhaustible.

When I had my first baby, I thought that I would never again be able to feel such an all encompassing and embracing love.  I thought that, like most things, the love that just took me over when she was born, was bound to fade, and that I would need to take some of it to share it with the next child. That’s how it works mathematically, right?

Not so!

With each one that was born, my heart was somehow stretched a heap more and I was able, without any sense to be made of it, and without any reasonable logic, to expand those love ‘tanks’ inside my heart that gave me such an all-out affection for each baby. And then number three child arrived… And she stretched me again with an encompassing, ferocious love that never fades.

How ever does that happen? How big is love anyway?  What if it is a reflection of how God loves us – without end?

2.             A mother’s heart is made to be broken

When I saw my last baby off to preschool, I couldn’t wait to get back into the workforce, albeit for 3 days a week.  But Elyse didn’t even turn and wave as she disappeared down the corridor to play with the other kids.  Miss three-year-old was so adjustable, so adaptable, and so ready to go out into the big world! Yes, I was the one who was left teary eyed and shaky! Had it been the same with my other two beautiful children? Well, no, but now I guess the family had learned to replicate itself, and to love upon one another purely because we are family.

It was the same on the first day of ‘big school’.  She couldn’t wait to get out and about without me! And now, in her 20’s, my baby girl has left home.  She’s gone to live on the other side of the world, in a country that she has adopted and loves.  And Mum is the one whose eyes are damp at least once a day, and whose heart longs for those Skype moments and those frantic phone calls where that little girl reaches out from her independence and asks for us to pray. If my heart weren’t broken though, if I were not ‘cracked’ as a vessel, how would the light that is on the inside ever show out? How would it ever draw others to hear my story of love? How could God even reach out through me to a broken world, if the ‘cracks’ in me weren’t there?

I guess that’s how He gets his message across about how much He loves each one on the planet – through the light shining out of my weakness.

3.             A mother can learn a lot from her kid.

As I have watched this little beauty grow up, I have realised that she is not only tenacious, but infectiously so… And an infection can spread like wild fire in the correct environment! I’ve observed her get her very own dream from God, and pursue it with all her might.

Though young, she’s taught me not to give up, never to take lightly what’s ahead with a “c’est la vie” approach, but to calculate the risk and move in on those dreams, absorbing both the cost and the exercise of my faith. Though it cost, it’s worked.

I’m seeing her make mistakes, but pick herself up and start over with a fresh resolve.  And it reminds me of someone; a person who was once young and thriving in unfamiliar territory herself.

And I wonder… Lord, do you teach children through theirmothers, and then turn around and teach the mothers through their children? I have a sneaking suspicion that this is how you work! 

That’s what I’ve learned. That’s what I am getting better at… Every day. 

And somehow I am starting to understand your heart a little more, that heart of Love that binds together families and holds them close, no matter how far apart they are… 

And now. Over to you Elyse….

elysemurphy.com
elysemurphy.com

I love my mum. Yes, mum. You can take the girl out of Australia, but you can’t take the original English language out of the girl… I think that’s how the saying goes.

I love her for so many reasons… For giving me permission to be unapologetically me, with my high pitch and strong opinions… For making sure I knew that I was loved no matter where I was or what I did, and for making sure my heart knew that, not just my head… I love my mum because, to me, she is home.

Plus, I’m pretty sure she’s the reason I drink at least one cup of tea per day… And I don’t even like tea.

You may not know this but my mum is a published author (she can also hold an in-depth conversation with animals, but that’s for another blog). She’s the one who inspired me to start writing. I saw her go on a journey of writing a book, which started out as her story of an abusive father. But as she wrote, she processed. As she processed, she began to heal. In the end my mum wrote a beautifully moving and honouring book about her father, my grandad – a man who had faults and emotional baggage, yes, but a man who loved his kids completely and was willing to sacrifice whatever in order for then to have a better life. And as my mum became vulnerable, as she took one step further than she felt comfortable in her writing, other people found healing through her words.

Mum, fireside
Mum, fireside

My mum taught me that it’s our honesty, whether on paper or in person, that unlocks healing in others.

So this mother’s day weekend, we had a fun idea. We decided to team up and reflect on what we have learned from each other. We have very different writing styles, which I love. I blurt whatever I’m thinking onto page, where as my mum lingers over every word, evoking imagery like no one else. You’ll see.

Three things I have learned from my mum: 

1.    Fierce Loyalty

Fierce is the only word adequate to describe the kind of loyalty mum possesses. It’s greater than an allegiance to a football team and she could give any One Direction a run for their money. Her loyalty is unmatched.

Growing up, whether life was scary or uncertain or exciting, I always knew one thing. Mum had my back, and my heart. I think back to these last few months of moving oversees. There were times all I wanted to do was a book a flight home and say, “it’s just too hard.” Until I skyped my mum. Though she wanted me home more than anything, she knew where I needed to be. She reminded me God placed me here and that all I needed was a good nights sleep. She promised me that tomorrow would be better.

And I believed it. Why? Because my mum said so.

2.     How to be beautiful

I love when people say, “Look at a girls mother to see what you’ll be married to in 20 years!” My response? Go ahead! My mum’s a total fox. If you’ve met her you already know that. She was a flight attendant for years back when flight attendants had to be foxes. I’m using the word fox a lot. I kinda like it. Anyway, she’s stunning. She taught me as a little girl how to cleanse my face, put on makeup and moisturise, “… and don’t forget to moisturise your neck and the backs of your hands because that’s where you can tell a woman’s age.” I can still hear her telling me in the mirror as I watched her get ready for a date night with my dad.  But more than that, she taught me how to be beautiful, how to hold my head high in public, how to speak up for what I believed in, how to dress classy not like a huss…. Un-classy.

Even as a little girl, I always saw her as the prettiest woman in the whole world… Now I know it’s because she radiates beauty. She is sassy. She is selfless. She is strong.  She is stunning.

Now she's 21!!
Now she’s 21!!

3.    No one will ever satisfy, comfort or understand me like Jesus.

This one hasn’t so much been taught, more caught. My mum loves Jesus, like really loves Jesus. Think of someone who loves Jesus, and times it by like a billion. That’s my mum. And it is contagious.

I have lost count of the amount of times that I have walked down the stairs to find my mum either worshipping, praying or journaling. Her answer to dilemmas has never been to call a friend, but rather to go for a walk and pray about it. I have witnessed her face battles with a shield of faith and a sword of the spirit, because she knows her word and she’s not afraid to use it. It’s inspiring.

I want my faith to be like hers. I want to love Jesus like she does.

When I grow up, I want to be like my mum.

Happy Mothers Day xo

Now Its Your Turn: We’d love to hear from you! Let’s connect in the comments box below or you can subscribe to my blog and/or subscribe to my mum’s blog!

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Easter’s gift!

As Easter approaches

Brightly wrapped set of Chocolate Easter Eggs photo

It’s Easter week and I am reminded of the profound gift that is mine from my Heavenly Father. This gift is given to me forever, and shows the generosity and incomprehensible love that has forever and always pierced and lifted my heart. The gift of Jesus, to me.

There are many ways for us to give.  For us to reflect the Father’s heart.

Let me tell you a story….

It was Christmas, 2013, and I received a gift from my son and daughter in law which made me cry, not out of sadness but a realisation that a tender and observant heart can bring blessing and honour to a mother, as hands are extended in love and generosity. These two dear ones had spent the last months bringing an old toy back to life and restoring its former glory, just to bring me joy. And it was presented to me with loving hearts and hands.

I share with you today an excerpt from my book “Dancing With My Daddy” so that you will understand the context, and then this gift.

My rocking horse
My rocking horse

“With dappled grey, hardwood body and long, flowing mane, he stood in the corner of my room, upstairs in the little council house which was identical to rows of others in a neat English street.  Ready to entertain me at a moment’s notice, this most beautiful of rocking horses was a hand-me-down, but nonetheless, my pride and joy.

Dark red reins draped his head, and he held a wry smile – as rocking horses do.  His saddle was ever ready to take me to a new adventure. 

Though painted on, his beautiful eyes beckoned me with a life-like wink.  Just a shake of his luxurious rope mane, and I believed in his whispering tales of new lands to conquer, new pastures to visit, long and rolling meadows to gallop together, with all my heart. 

For many years I was too small to climb up on his saddle without help, but later as I grew I would spend time just rocking to and fro, thinking and dreaming little girl dreams.  I was just the two of us, in or own special world.  Coloured and faraway lands called me forth to play.  Lands of castles, princesses and high towers, trusty steeds that sped through thickly wooded forests and spirited me away from lurking goblins and the like; terrors of the forest and true heroes lived in this magical world.

And as we travelled through verdant glens and valleys, passing by imaginary friends, and stopping in for tea parties at lavish estates with kings and queens, we would experience the adventures that only a child’s mind can comprehend.  He and I were one.”

The story goes on to say that my Dad eventually gave away my rocking horse, and of course, with it went memories and childhood stories that could live only in my mind. But little did I know, Dad had reflected the heart of the Father in Heaven as he gave the rocking horse to a poor family, to a little immigrant girl who had very few toys, and small joy in her life.

“What does it take to reflect God’s heart?  Generosity, care for others, and a vision to bless a neighbour.” 

What came next in the story, though, is what shows the generosity of one for another.The reward that comes to the generous.

My Easter Sunday was forever marked in my mind that year, as I ran home from celebrating the festival at church, and, wanting to open my usual one Easter egg, I was astounded as I opened the door and there, on the kitchen table…the biggest surprise gift from….the little girl’s family who had been given my rocking horse!

Yes…generosity begets generosity.  The Father’s love and His immeasurable gift to us is evidence that we are able to have hearts of love and consideration towards others…to love because He loved.

To give because He gave.

Here’s the prayer at the end of the chapter which may help you today:   “Often I hug the hurts of the life life so very close that I can’t see the lesson that you have in them for me. Help me to look up, to look around, and to see what it is in each season of life that you want to teach me.  Help me to understand that a generous heart is straight from you…..” 

As you and I celebrate Easter this coming weekend, let’s never forget the value and the impact on humanity that God’s greatest gift to us has brought us.  The gift that will never fail us. The Son of God in our hearts for ever…if we will just believe.

And in the meantime, our everyday lives can be released to reflect the Father’s generosity…if we will but ask Him to give us opportunities…every day.

Psalm 112:5:

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely.  He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor”

**Note: Here’s a link to a video which will tell you all about Dancing With My Daddy (Every Daughter’s Journey)   http://store.influenceresources.com/products/dancing-with-my-daddy

 

 

Photos by stevendepolo,

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Empty Nest Syndrome

 

Bald Eagle in flight. http://photopin.com/
Bald Eagle in flight.
http://photopin.com

I love flying!

I couldn’t help but feel impressed by the takeoff.  I have a peculiar, indeed, somewhat unusual, fascination about aircraft…the domestic, not the war type. Flying holds a place in my heart and it’s in this space I can create better, rest pretty well and dream and think more prolifically than most places on Earth.

Ever since I flew as a flight attendant with Qantas in and out of Australia, I have enjoyed the times that I am able to sit and experience the beauty of flight. The escape into the skies of these mere mortal bodies as we partake, albeit briefly, of the joy of seeing the Earth from God’s airspace is a constant charge… an adrenalin rush to me! Perhaps I should have been an astronaut. Or a bird of flight!

Breaking News!

As the captain interrupts my train of thought with his usual informative patter via the PA, we quickly cover the miles of our journey towards Dallas.  Today we stop briefly there, then on towards Los Angeles.  This mammoth day marks the close of our trip to the USA.  I turn my thoughts to home, and family.  Thoughts of our grown up kids there.  My little black dog, dear thing.  Our house in the most beautiful valley in the world.

And then comes the jolt as I remember that home will not be the same anymore.  Ever. It will be in some ways empty, because the last one of our kids who has just recently ‘flown the nest’ in order to begin expanding her world, has left.   

She has settled , for who knows how long, in the great world city of Los Angeles.

No, home won’t be the same now. 

I can hardly allow myself to entertain the thoughts that want to crowd and crumble my heart.  The empty bedroom; her precious little childhood things that sit gathered and packed in a corner.

I wasn’t there when she left the nest.  Her father and I were away on this trip.  So for us, goodbye comes in the next couple of days when we leave Los Angeles for Sydney.

I quickly move on, not dwelling on the unnecessary emotion that this goodbye promises to bring.

We were in Jacksonville last night. On our way to the airport this morning our driver spoke about, among other things (she was quite the talker) the local Florida bird-life.  We got onto the subject of the American national emblem, the bald eagle. These days in that state, the magnificent and nationally acclaimed species is returning.  Apparently they build their nests high up in the mobile phone towers and live, confident and strong, in a place where they weren’t supposed to be, but now occupy as their own. That place is where their perspective is all encompassing.  Their view one that royalty in the animal kingdom are privy to alone.   It’s a vantage point,  brilliantly positioned for them to educate their babies in the art form for which they are famous.  And for which those babies were created. 

Bald Eagle Nest.  Photopin.com
Bald Eagle Nest.
Photopin.com

Their keen eye and purpose combine as they hunt from a great height and feed those babes until one day, they will drop them out of the nest.  The little ones will learn how to fly. It’s called survival. Their hearts will be encouraged as they at first panic at the speed and precarious, random nature of their initial solo flight.  That’s the one when Mama Eagle literally turfs them out of the nest.  I imagine they struggle to overcome their surprise, but quickly gather all that they have been created to employ, as they flap those great but novice wings and experience God’s breeze and lifting currents in flight.

And before long, baby eagle is able to be seen high in the sky, doing what God has created it to do.  Soaring.  Being magnificent.

Mother eagle…..  Do you feel like I do when you watch that?

The need to teach and then to let go?  The fact that you have educated your babies to fly and then they actually take you at your word and do it? And before long there is no real need for you to be there.  They have learned the path of life.  They have become ‘grown up’. They turn their heads towards the future.

The ‘Empty Nest’….it’s  an expression, a naming of the empty-hearted feeling that every other Mama knows.  Every mother who has educated, trained, loved and encouraged her babies to fly…   As she champions her offspring, remembering their birth and childhood ways, she watches on, ever protective and ready to swoop in and rescue.

We are on the approach to Dallas.  Next top Los Angeles.  Four days to see my baby angel.  Then I must become Mother Eagle. 

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

31 but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint. [1]

 

 

 

 


[1] The New International Version. 2011 (Is 40:31). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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TRUST and my GPS!

 

IPHONE MAPS

The GPS is recalculating…..It’s the little moving dots that are so annoying….C’mon!  C’mon!

The diagram of the little car on the screen is way off course!

Because we are navigating our way across New York City in a rental car, we need help.How to trust this unseen person, this voice that knows all?

Giving up control

Trust. It’s not easy when you are in unfamiliar territory. Have you ever felt that you are in a place where you feel conscious of the need to hurry and put some distance between you and your current position? Some of life’s tracks can take you there.  It feels as though…’the quicker I get through this, the better the future will be…I need to learn something and move on!’

But trusting is, surely, not natural 

We may be sure of our destination, but which pathway, street, highway or freeway do we use to get there?  That’s up to this ‘higher power’, this indispensable GPS system that apparently relies on something way up in the sky to direct us safely to our resting place for the night. 

What DID we do before we had those all-knowing, all-powerful satellites in space? 

We are left with time to think. The traffic lights turn red and bring a reprieve, pausing us for a moment on our journey through a busy Brooklyn neighbourhood. “This route is saving you five minutes traffic delay time”

I am tempted to say:  ‘thank you’ out loud. Doesn’t feel like we are saving time!

A necessary journey

Where I am now is sometimes not where I want to be.  But I know that I need to pass through this place, in order to get to the ‘other side’.  We may traverse the unknown, often bringing with us into our present situation some untapped emotions from before.  They can jump out at us, ambush-style, as we become embroiled in the jungle of opinion and options, and just the everyday living that we all do.

Why is it that confusion can reign when we think we know best?.  That Patience can wear thin when we are in a hurry to ‘get somewhere’…

The satellite guides us from the best possible perspective.   Still, the fears surface.  Deal with them, or fail!  And all the while a glance out of the window presents the unfamiliar.  Getting lost is never the goal, but it does happen.  Even using a GPS!

A crowd of little kids, shepherded across the road crossing in front of us by a caring but harried teacher, reminds me of home. 

My family.  Out of sight, but never out of mind.

I miss those eyes, those turns of phrase that are foreign here.

Suppress the choking tears as they rise. The musical laughter in my head crescendos and then is silenced as the voice kicks in once again….

“Keep right. Merge left … now.”

Do as you’re told – it’s for the best!

And then.  The road through dark, unfamiliar streets is finished and we face the long, straight highway once again.  It unfolds before us.  It’s obvious.

Roomy.  Inviting us to fly.

Putting the foot down on the accelerator brings exhilaration.  Confidence.  We can settle now.  The GPS works its magic and we are in the hands of the satellite once again.  The journey, now a pleasure, brings the hope of what’s ahead into view.

We can almost feel that it’s nearing journey’s end.   The worst is behind.   We navigate the bridge, and notice green waters below, way, way below.

It’s not how it was.  We are nearly there.

Being directed from Above

Life’s journey is taking us somewhere.  But being lost, being under-confident and sometimes even untrusting, is common to most.

What are you using as your GPS?  A man made-sense of things?   Or are you God directed? Using the Heavenly perspective – that “guidance system” that leads and directs from the ‘quiet centre’ of your soul. One that communicates with a super-natural Help 

It’s as easy as ‘tapping in’ right now. 

Proverbs 20:24 (NLT)

“How can we understand the road we travel?

It is the Lord who directs our steps”.

 

 

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 
photo credit: M Hooper via <a href="http
photo credit: M Hooper via

It’s New Year’s Eve!    As we leave the old and bring in the new…what are your thoughts about the future?

Counting down at midnight, what do you think will be uppermost in your mind about what’s ahead?

I was taking down my Christmas tree and all the family decorations just yesterday and I mused about the correlation that this often has in our minds to saying ‘goodbye’ to an old year and ushering in the new one.
It never changes. We do it at this time of the year, every year.
And yet we hope for a ‘better tomorrow’ and wish one another health and happiness as we approach the countdown. Every year. Someone once said the ‘definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result’.
Truth is, if we just pack away the ‘old’ and bring it out again in the future…how have we moved forward?

tree 2

………..5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

And it’s here.  The new slate upon which to write. A year that’s never been lived. The hope that things will all be different now…

Sigh.

As I packed away the beautiful coloured baubles into their boxes and stacked each one neatly in its place up high in the storage cupboard, I couldn’t help but think to myself….this will all be away now until the end of the new year, when I’ll bring it all out and put it on display…again. Been doing it for decades.

BAUBLES 2

The Christmas tree now looks bare. It’s sad to see it being dismantled. The Santa hats have been flung around the place, waiting for collection. Listlessly they hang, as if nobody cares now, when last week we were all running around with the red and white adornments on our heads wishing health and happiness to all.  Now they lay like drunken and spent bodies after a wild NYE party. HAT 2

The angel dolls, so carefully placed next to Christmas candles, have spent the last month adorning my lounge room, silently singing carols and wishing us good cheer.  Now they sleep peacefully in the box of Christmas things, like resposing princesses, waiting for their chance to shine again.

ANGELS 2 Not sad, but thought provoking.  Here are a few of my own thoughts – call them my resolutions if you will – as I start towards the new year of 2014:

REFLECTION is always good!

1.   We can grow by allowing ourselves to think.

I know, I know…obvious, right?
But it’s something that we ‘prefectionistas’ don’t necessarily allow ourselves the luxury of doing. “Necessity is the mother of invention”, my Mum always said…. So when we come to the place of realising that it’s so necessary to reflect, and not just swiftly move on…that’s when change can actually happen in us. Do I allow myself to do that in my busy and bustling world?

Take it easy!  Put up your feet, make a cuppa and reflect on YOU. You’re so worth it!

2.   We can grow by allowing ourselves to dismantle.

What?! But I’m a mother, a wife, a woman of the 21st century…it’s dangerous and vulnerability rules when I think about this – and yes, that’s the point! We grow the most in our character when we are the most vulnerable, but then are open to change and move forward. Before the Creator of all things…let it all hang out! In the private place of devotion to Jesus, you can.  And it’s entirely possible, that things will be different from this moment on.

Let your hair down!  Allow yourself to ‘deconstruct’, not in an indulgent way, but before Jesus himself…being honest, believing for the best for YOU in the new year.

3.    We can grow by allowing ourselves grace.

Decide on a new colour scheme for the Christmas tree next year. (I can almost hear you sucking in your breath as your heart beats wildly in your chest…too much?) Yes, tradition is good, but it can’t rule you. Let God place a new dream, a new pattern of His thinking, a new vision in your heart. don’t box yourself in to the old perameters! (definition: ‘a limit or boundary that defines the scope of a particular process or activity’} 

… think OUTSIDE of that box. Why can’t things be different for you next year?  It’s just a decision away!

Think about this:

* What would I have changed?  

* What could I have done differently? (it may even help to write it down in your journal!)

* What could I have done more effectively? (character, relationship building, career/family?)

*  How can I avoid the mistakes of the past being repeated in this approaching new year?

*  What can I leave behind?

* What is useful that can be packed safely away but brought out another day?

Next year…newness may rule.  Or not.  That’s my decision. Bring it on!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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