UGANDA

Kampala Kapers!

We’ve come to an area somewhere in a village, on the outskirts of Kampala.  It’s a part of our Leaderscape ‘developing world’ work, with Leaderscape.  www.theleaderscape.com

A dirt floor and a marquee splattered with the typical red dust and mud of the area, holy in places as you look up towards its roof and see spindles of sunlight breaking through the canvas.  But the ‘holy – ness’ isn’t just physical.

Tent church Uganda

I find myself now sitting listening to Michael preach with a Ugandan interpreter. MRM at CthKThe young man doing this job is brilliant – a fresh faced kid with a dream to study theology in Australia one day – headed for the big city of Nairobi in the near future to start his studies. He has a future assured as a speaker and a preacher.  No one could doubt his commitment and verve.  He imitates Michael’s every move, nuance and tone.  We have joined a bunch of enthusiastic young Ugandans, most of whom have ‘graduated’ from the Good Samaritan orphanage and schools which are just up the road – using the term loosely, because ‘dirt track’ probably describes it better.

As we’d walked in, past young people of around 18-25, lost in worship and the music, we’d noticed some 20 or so little kids in a corner, emanating the ‘stage’ young people and their every move.  Dressed in their ‘Sunday best’ these little ones were not going to be outdone in this intense atmosphere of dance and song!  Wide eyed and fresh faced, they imitate, spin and dance with all the passion of their elder ‘brothers and sisters’.  It’s a festive and spiritually invigorating place. The African beat and moves are mingled with Western praise music and modern instruments.

My gaze swaps to the stage boys and girls, all late teens and ‘twenty somethings’.  They worship like so many Michael Jacksons, with so much passion and heart, stopping to drop to their knees often, so that many of the boys have red mud colouring the knees of their trousers. The girls are often lost in the worship of their King, and demonstrate a purity of praise I’ve rarely seen. 

Earlier today we visited the Good Samaritan project, a school for over 2,500 orphans from all over Uganda. Most of them have lost both parents, killed by the last war or by aids. The young people who have planted this church, Christ the King Church, were rescued from the streets of Uganda and its countryside, brought to an institution whose heart is to restore and release these kids.  And there’s plenty of need for that.

kids praying GS child with Bible

A couple of hours prior to our visit to the fledgling church, I’d been so unprepared for our entrance to the hall where we spoke to over 1,000 little primary kids, aged 13 down.  We had navigated our way in the four wheel drive over terrain rivalling an outback adventure. We’d walked up the steep, uneven pathways towards the sound of  the singing and joyous atmosphere from the main hall of the school.

And as we’d turned the corner into the building, we were completely taken aback.  Walking in to a space which was dimly lit but overflowing with beautiful Ugandan children, the crowd all stood and cheered and stamped their little feet to welcome us for a few minutes!! We are the only white people, and a curiosity! Now I couldn’t walk anywhere as I’d misted up my glasses by this time, and found a couple of stray tears invading and tracking down my face.

Not. Prepared. At. All. 

Our host, Apostle Alex Mitala, has brought us to speak to leaders, pastors and now to kids and a thriving young adult church. A varied trip for us at Leaderscape!

The congregation here is a new church plant made up of ex Good Samaritan orphans, and is their own project. There’s a half finished church building started on the land adjoining this marquee. The ‘roads’ to get here cut through villages of mud houses and slum and squalor that, even after years of working in Asia, sets me back….good job we had 4wheel drives to get here. This is no Fraser Island sand!!

Michael and I are welcomed with much enthusiastic hand clapping and cheering.  And I wonder – how much are we bringing them, in contrast to how much they are teaching us?

My husband steps up to the front to bring a message to the little church, and its congregation leans forward as one, eager to hear, eager to move on what they hear.  He’s ministering now to those plagued by fear. Imagine. Many of these young adults have seen the horrors of African war and present day terrorism, child soldiers and the destruction of a life of abject poverty and misery. There are thousands upon thousands of them, yet still wandering out there in Kampala and other cities and the countryside. This church is just one that needs to influence this next committed and enthusiastic young generation of Christians!

Meanwhile tonight Michael will be speaking to pastors. The leadership of this movement (it’s totally indigenous- little overseas money or influence here) is growing older. The baton needs to be passed. And soon. Unfortunately some of the well-meaning influences from by-gone times have left traits and habits of ‘religion’ and the revering of ‘authority’ and ‘position’. And it shows. The need for a freedom of worship and the disciples of the future to be released to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to this generation is paramount.

Uganda.  just one of the many places where God is doing His thing among a people who are willing to welcome Him into their lives.  Leaderscape hopes to partner with many more of the organisations such as I’ve described today.

Good Samaritan schoolwww.theleaderscape.com

Perhaps we can help them.

I know they can help us.

 

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Midnight in Paris

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

THE BELLS CALL US TO MOURN BUT TO PRAY
THE BELLS CALL US TO MOURN BUT TO PRAY

Paris, January 8th, 2015:

So how does it feel to be on the streets of Paris today with the aftermath of the terrorist attack yesterday in this great and beautiful world city?

We are currently in our hotel room, venturing out for a little food and coffee, wandering a while in the shops, and braving the rain that appears to be soothing the hearts and minds of the everyday Parisienne as they try to resume their daily business.

The incident that has blasted into our otherwise organized and quiet lives in this celebrated and normally bustling city, has resulted in a shock and pall that hangs over us. Ghost-like in its invasion into lives, its fingers chill the heart as we hear the latest news from every TV station.

We came here to celebrate. We were in St Valery en Caux for a couple of days, following in the footsteps of my own father, Harry Stokes, who, along with 10,000 other soldiers, was surrendered and ordered to lay down his arms after a horrific battle in trying to hold off the Nazi army, forever advancing on the land of France with Britain in its sights, following its occupation of Paris.

Again, the French people arose and rebuilt. Decades later the little town of St Valery en Caux is now quaint and appealing. Its Atlantic seagulls wheeled above us there, crying in their traditional style as if to say that life continues after such monstrous fighting and death. It’s the incident that forms the opening of my book, “Dancing With My Daddy”, and it was a life journey for me.

And then we drove into Paris at the height of the drama, watching and wondering as we heard sirens and saw a police presence that we assumed must be normal here.

 But Paris has become anything but normal in the last 24 hours.

Today, the average French citizen deserves our prayers and our thoughts, as we together continue to battle on many fronts the attack of an enemy that often strikes the innocent and the outspoken from the rank and file of our society. They grab this notoriety and ‘fame’ in a mindless bid to bring down others who may not agree with their ideals and the way they think, seemingly curbing the freedom of those whom they view as different, as infidels. But they are the tools of an even greater threat.

My heart today goes out to the average Mama and Papa out on the streets of this city, walking through the drizzling rain and, in this area particularly, being affected emotionally by the tolling bells of Notre Dame Cathedral. They are calling a city to mourning for the lost. We can see the cathedral from our hotel room, opening the windows often to let in fresh air and the sound of the bells. It refreshes, but its stirs the heart.

Not just the loss of life. The loss of freedom, equality, and all things that have been declared for hundreds of years in this great and embracive nation that stands for freedom of speech and thought. France.

We from Sydney are still raw from our own experience of the violence that curbs freedom and brings death and destruction to families, real people in a real and reeling world.

Can we no longer be allowed to speak out in the name of freedom?  Must we now pull in our words and nervously guard our opinions, rather than, like Voltaire, declaring that:

“I may not agree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it?”

It’s a wake up call for us all. Times have changed. The enemy of love is gaining attention and that headline that we all dread in our own cities is being broadcast. Emblazoned and immortalized in moments with technicolour-beamings which instantly are available to anyone who cares to watch, we hunger for the latest input from those who want to force-feed us on the very latest, and then we watch it all again on repeat.

And CNN says to us:

“So…what is the future?” – talking about satire, journalism, freedom of writing for us all.

But surely the question is not one of uncertainty, but an investment of our future as individuals in the Truth. Its not writings, cartoons or journalism that is being threatened. It’s perhaps not in the attack, but in the defence of our own souls from degenerating and playing into the enemy’s hands….in fact, this attack on humanity itself has not differed except in its presentation.

What ever is the answer, we ask ourselves?

There is only One. It is Love itself.

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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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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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