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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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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Rising Above my Situation – Transcendence in Jesus

 

Peace, Woronora Valley

I was shocked into the realisation today.

It’s not that I wasn’t taking notice.  But I was so involved with the everyday caring that I hadn’t seen what was missing.

Ever been pulled up sharp by God Himself?

And all of a sudden He’s in there, reminding you of His magnificence…His presence that transcends everything in your life!

I was at the hospital.  Oh wait.  I haven’t told you about this yet.  I’m in a situation of caring for my very ill and only sibling, my ‘big brother’ who is a man of God.  Loves Jesus! With all his heart and soul.  But now he’s in this situation, only months long now, and finds himself desperate to cry out for the very Presence that heals.  The Presence that guides.  The comforting Presence that transcends. 

"My peace I leave with you...."
“My peace I leave with you….” (John 14:27)

I think that I’m ‘transcending’ when I say a prayer, when I read an inspiring passage, but I learnt something today….When we ‘transcend’ something, we actually RISE ABOVE it….We’re not on the same ‘level’ any more.

“Transcend”:   “be or go beyond the range or limits of (something abstract, typically a conceptual field or division)”   To “surpass” (a person or an achievement).

The dictionary definition doesn’t do it justice, what I saw today.

A man who’s been told his life is dwindling fast away, still holding on to the faith and the confession that is his life…that is Christ.  When the news of the brain tumour hit us all we had the ‘right confession’…rising above what was being declared by a faithless world. Though we still continue to try, the help comes in way that is foreign to us, unusual…transcendent. And we feel inadequate, and we feel lack and pain and frustration…and it gives us something to rise above, again. But those of us who experience the transcendence can soar above. We rise.

He lifted his arm right up in adoration of His Saviour. Jesus, the only one who can do anything about this situation, in reality.  Yes there are doctors, nurses, hospitals and drugs.  And it all helps.  I guess.  But what transcends  it all…what causes us all to rise is the faith, the believing, the knowing the Saviour’s Presence?  What causes our spirit to gush, to speak forth praise and worship when we have lost even the capability to express ourselves in words…

My inspiration

The witnessing of it. As I read him the scriptures…his arm upward along with his face in a blessing that gave me the privilege of belonging…of being a part of, his journey. He spoke out adoration, though he could speak little else. A never ending flood of words, though used a lifetime in other ways, and now selected to support the TRANSCENDING faith that carries the Spirit with him…

I’m supporting.  I’m caring.  I’m believing.  But even now and much more…I’m transcending.  Rising above the storm.  

What an honour.  

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:6
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”
Ephesians 2:6

 

 

 

 

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IN THE EYE OF THE STORM

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  C.S. Lewis

SUNRISE WORONORA RIVER

Have you ever been right in the middle of a ‘storm’ and almost viewed what’s happening to you as though you were checking out someone else’s situation?

It’s unfamiliar, strangely exhilarating, and altogether defined in your life, a situation like no other. A flash of summer lightening after an oppressive day of heat, it leaves its mark on memory, though soon no longer visible. The ‘storm’ that you’re going through can be the working of God Himself –  indeed the pain that the storm inevitably brings is often a catalyst for the building blocks of character.

But have you ever been so ‘kept’ in the ‘eye’ of that storm that you felt it was all just a little surreal?

Well, I guess, that’s where I am just now.

Seems I’m on the ‘roller coaster’ ride of my life. Caring for a dear and much loved family member with cancer is like that. I mean, it’s an experience that at once draws out so much adrenalin, as you become the person upon whom is placed such a dependance, yet on the other hand scares you, making you wonder about what the future will dictate for your life and theirs.

Nothing is certain.  Everything is happening too fast. But then everything is happening too slowly.  Outcomes are unknowable; so unclear, so frighteningly unfamiliar and yet, with it comes this solid, etherial confidence that I am safe, contrasting with the natural circumstances. That familiar hand that guides. That voice that calms. That heart that knows. That’s what is making the difference here.

It’s like being in the ‘eye’ of a cyclone. That place where the storm is held at bay. That unique, almost eerie space in time, when the lashing of the seas and the destructiveness of the wind and waves is held….The moments when the sure, surrounding love and peace is exuded and envelopes the soul.  Though the storm still rages around you. Though you know it may yet grow worse.

‘Peace, be still!’.

What supernatural force surrounds me so well that I feel upheld –  though the winds of adversity not only blow, but are currently howling the place down?

It could only be the solid, peaceful presence of One greater than myself. Stealth that expertly invades the fear space. Unannounced but invited.  Surely, skilfully corralling the wild horses of fear that threaten at each change of my situation to turn and trample me…

Calm now.  And with each rise in the intensity of my own  personal tempest, the opposite of the expected. Juxtaposed with the fury. Calling the natural and the supernatural to show their power.

And a knowing which will win.

Every new scenario of terror that unfolds with the days has a plan to take me down.  And every time I turn the corner and my way to peace is naturally blocked, the Supernatural intervenes. Like a rescuer promising my survival in the face of my attacker. He cordons off my enemy and releases His grace into me, throwing me a life line.

And I agree to swim and not sink. There’s a power in that agreement. When I agree with Him who’s in control, I thwart the powerlessness of disagreement.  When I read, repeat, ruminate on the Word of God and agree with Him in it, that’s when the Power comes.

His peace amazes me.   His beauty fills my mind and heart, overcoming this beast that assails, in all its storming power and glory.

I am in the storm’s ‘eye’.

We don’t ask to go through these times of stress and tempest…I mean, who would?  But when we do, we can reach out a hand and a prayer to bring this monster tempest to its knees…to strip it of its power.

‘What if?’, ‘Why me?’ and ‘If only…’  you don’t belong here in the Eye. ‘I trust You’.  ‘I release my heart to you’, and ‘Lead me, Lord’….the language of the peace in the midst of the terror and uncertainty.

Here are some things that I am learning, ever on the potters wheel, even in the midst of this.

THE EYE OF THE STORM IS WHERE I NEED TO LIVE.

– Being tossed around with every wind and wave of tempest in every situation that I am subject to – that’s not where I need to be.  Or indeed where I am called to be by Christ. I can live opposite to what assails me. 

THE EYE OF THE STORM IS WHERE I LEARN THE MOST.

– Not that we pray for adversity, but when it comes, why are we surprised?  Here’s a verse my husband sent me on my phone last week:

 Job 4:3-6……..“In the past you have encouraged many people; you have strengthened those who were weak.  Your words have supported those who were falling;  you encouraged those with shaky knees.  But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart.  You are terrified when it touches you.  Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence?  doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope?”

THE EYE OF THE STORM WILL ENVELOPE ME WITH PEACE.

How to release this to Him, when my knuckles are white with just hanging on? Pray, pray and pray. Talking to God – a conversation, not a tirade or a shouting match…I remind myself constantly that God actually loves me! And yet, and yet…the struggle continues.

God’s ‘megaphone’!  Am I listening?  Am I still enough in the eye of the storm to realise that there is a place of peace here?

The question just begs an answer, doesn’t it?  Yet often our answer is the whisper in the midst of our circumstance.

“Speak, for your servant is listening.” (I Sam 3:10)

JAMES CAM. GDNS

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