Slow

I have missed a few weeks, but happy to be joining today again with the #Five Minute Friday community of writers where we write for five minutes on a one-word prompt and today’s word is: Slow.

The reason I wanted to jump back in here when I saw the prompt is that I would so love to share with you the book I am currently (slowly) going through: “Growing Slow” by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

Jennifer compares the seasons on the farm with the seasons of our life and how each season has its time of slow. She poses reflection questions at the end of each chapter which make us pause and reflect on what we have just read. It is such a timely book as we emerge from Lockdowns not to rush back into our previous hectic pace of life.

I won’t say anymore about it, it just so resonates with me, and perhaps one of the reasons I haven’t posted anything for a while is because I am growing slow, waiting, reflecting, pausing.

Selah!

Middle

Isaiah 41:10 Don't Be Afraid - Free Bible Verse Art Downloads - Bible  Verses To Go

Joining again this week with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers who write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt. This week’s prompt is: Middle

I am a middle-child; probably past middle-age; still in the middle of menopause; still living in the middle of coming out of Lockdowns; still in the middle of trying to get back to work.

In the middle of the has been, but not yet of the Kingdom of God; in the middle of being renewed; in the middle of being made into the likeness of Christ; in the middle of being made holy.

As they say: ‘Life is not a rehearsal’ and I, like most others, are having to navigate our way through this life with many twists and turns and ways we have never been before, it is new, we have never walked this way before, we don’t get to try it out and then go back and do it again, better next time.

Life is the here and now, the daily nitty gritty, daily decisions, daily pressures, daily joys and sorrows, laughs and tears. I have never walked this way before, yesterday is past, tomorrow still to come, I am in today and am blessed that God has said, “I am with you”; “I am with you in this; I am with you in this messy middle” and that is what makes the difference – God being with me.

She

Evaluation: Avoiding the blame game - CCCC News & Blogs

I’m joining with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers today to write on their one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today’s prompt is: She

I don’t know why, but perhaps it is because I am reading through Genesis just now, but when I saw the prompt my immediate thought was of Adam saying to God “She gave me the fruit”, She made me eat it, She is to blame!!!

We all do that don’t we? Well I do anyway, I blame others, I deflect the blame away from myself, I self-justify why I have sinned, or fallen or done or said something I shouldn’t have. We don’t want to be the bad one, we don’t want to be thought of as unkind, so we justify our words and actions to make them sound acceptable.

However, there is no excuse! We have sinned, we have been unkind, said some not nice things, got angry in the heat of the moment and we need to acknowledge that, we need to hold our hands up and say, ‘that was me, I did that’ because only then can we come to God in repentance and only then can we receive His forgiveness, His grace.

So next time instead of blaming, let us acknowledge ‘it was me’ and turn to God for His grace to forgive and wipe us clean of this blame game.

Remedy

The Bethany Center | The Whole Creation Groans

Joining with the #Five Minute Friday community of writers today to write on a one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today’s prompt is: Remedy.

Last week’s prompt was Broken, which I never got round to writing about, but which I have pondered all week.

In our Bible study group just now we are doing a study in Genesis 1-11 and I have been struck and touched afresh by the detailed, intricate, delicate beauty of creation and have wow’d over it. But I have also been saddened and have sat with that sadness for several days over the brokenness and destruction sin brought to that beautiful creation.

I see that brokenness in the world around me and in my own life, I see its destructive force, but from my Genesis study I also see that there is a Remedy. Right there, right then when sin was committed and brokenness entered; Grace entered too! Right away there was a remedy, a plan of salvation, God’s greatest work yet to put in place a plan of redemption, a plan to buy back that broken world, a plan to bring it back to glory!

God’s remedy plan is God’s grace, is God’s work of salvation and redemption through Jesus Christ, and we long for that coming day when all will be restored!

Permission

Got Your Post-Death Checklist? Grace Can Help

Joining today with the #Five Minute Friday community of writers who write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt. Today’s Prompt is: Permission.

There are a lot of changes coming into my life in the next few weeks, a lot of readjustments needing to be made, so this is a timely prompt for me to give myself permission to be confused; permission to be apprehensive; permission to be indecisive; permission to just not know what to think.

Coming out of lockdown, going back to work, a journey to a (far away) city with my daughter who has been home for 5 months; returning to an empty nest; work; church even? All familiar, ‘used to dos’; yet now unfamiliar, unknown.

So in the midst of the readjusting I need to give myself permission to be kind to myself, permission to give myself space; permission to give myself soul-care; permission to receive grace.

Permission just to breathe in grace; to receive grace for my weaknesses, for my unknowns, for my mistakes, for my apprehensions.

Grace.

Grace because I am weak, I am flawed, I am human and if there is one thing I need it is grace.

So these next few weeks, I’m giving grace permission to come and heal, forgive, restore and wash over me.

Pressure

My Yoke Easy My Burden Light Stock Vector (Royalty Free) 1647172963

Joining with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers where we write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt. Today’s prompt is: Pressure

I have been trying to get my head round the idea of ‘re-entering’ life after a year of Lockdowns. I am reluctant to re-enter, there are many reasons why, but primarily it is because of Pressure.

I am not looking forward to having pressure in my life again. Time pressures to be in a certain place, by a certain time – getting out to work on time!!!

Pressures placed by other people, demands I feel I have to meet, family obligations, social interaction, all fill me with intrepidation . Do I have the energy for it? Am I up for it? How will I, as an Introvert, cope with all those people again?

Pressures of everyday life, juggling life and commitments – not looking forward to that, to coming out of the safety of the cocoon I have built round myself here.

Yet, I know we were made for community and I know it will all be fine and I know that I will soon get into my stride and form new routines, but that doesn’t mean to say that it will be easy or that it will take some re-adjusting.

But one thing I can build into my re-entered life is time to PAUSE.

I need to from day one, take time morning, afternoon and evening to pause and breathe and trust and praise, to take time out from the pressures and reconnect with God.

And I need to remember that His yoke is easy and His burden is light and not add undue pressures on myself.

Hibernation

Fall into Hibernation With Fun Science!

It is Easter Monday and the snow is on the ground, perhaps that is why I am feeling slow and reluctant to come out of my Hibernation which has been called ‘Lockdown’.

Lockdown is gradually lifting and with it the re-opening; restarting of businesses, shops and offices and places of work, soon we will be able to meet and mingle again. Everyone is cheering, Yes?

Is it just me who is reluctant? Reluctant to get going again? Reluctant to face the pressures of ‘normal’ life which have been missing over this past year? Reluctant to re-enter the fray? Reluctant to have the decision-making returned to me?

I certainly feel like a bear reluctant to come out of Hibernation, and with spring being slow this year I feel as if I am being awakened before I am ready, being ushered out before I am finished with my slumber, with my slowness!

I have many fears and anxieties about ‘going back’ to work, ‘going back’ to life; what I actually feel is that it is ‘re-entering’ life after all this time at home and I am anxious. I am anxious about will I be able to do it? Am I capable, do I have the energy? Facing people again – that is a bit of a wow, I don’t think I am ready for social integration? Driving distances, shopping in physical shops, – it is as if I have lost confidence in doing these things.

So I am slow, I am reluctant and I feel as if I am on my own in this with everyone else frantically rushing about in preparation.

Can I just go back to my cave, let it all happen around me, wake me up when everyone has found their rhythm and I’ll try and slot in?

And yet, and yet yesterday was Resurrection Day,

11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

Romans 8:11

That same resurrection power is in me. That same power which raised Jesus from the dead is available to me too.

I don’t need to get stuck in doubting, fearful, slow Saturday, inbetween the Cross and the Resurrection. I am to harness that power and live post Resurrection, unafraid, fears dealt with, confident that the God who raised Jesus from the dead is the same God living and empowering me even in the here, even in the now and even in the unknown days ahead.

I don’t know what this re-entering of life will look like; I don’t know if it will be any fun! I don’t know what any of these coming days will bring but I am reminded of the song

And because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know, I know He holds the future
And life is worth a living just because He lives

[Bill & Gloria Gaither]

Because He lives, and because that same resurrection power is dwelling in me I can face the future, I can place my trust, I can re-enter and I can live with the fulness of life He gives.

So slowly I will shake myself, slowly I will come out of my Hibernation and slowly I will re-enter this world which is before me; Because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living just because He lives.

Savour

Pin on Bible Verses

It’s Friday! So joining with the #Five Minute Friday Community of writers to write for 5 minutes on a one Word prompt. Today’s prompt is: Savour.

First of all to all the American Writers out there in the community, this is how we spell ‘Savour’ (Savor) in the UK.! Just so you know that it is not a spelling mistake!!

So what do I like to savour? Well good food, good wine, good coffee, good books, the luxuries and comforts of a good hotel, the wind in my face, the sun on my skin, the company of family and friends.

And yet do I really savour these things? Do I really take the time to dwell in the moment, soak these things up, enjoy them to the full?

Probably like a lot of people, Lockdown has taught me to savour, to appreciate so much of what I took for granted before.

Lockdown has taught me to slow. Slow and savour the daily bounties that God lavishes upon us. Slow and savour the company of family and friends when so many have been bereft of these things. Slow and savour more time at home, in the garden, out on walks, appreciating the beauty of creation.

I want to keep that. I want to continue to slow. I want to continue to savour all that the Lord brings onto my path each day.

It is All in the Soil

Double Digging: How to Build a Better Veggie Bed - Modern Farmer

I have been busy over the past month or so preparing the soil on my new raised beds for growing soft fruits.  It has been a lot of work, hard work, unseen work, but the work put in now will far outweigh the future benefits and a full crop of fruits!

So what preparation have I done?

Well I have filled by raised beds with a mixture of soil, compost, sand and seaweed.  I have layered them.  I have turned them over, mixed them in, dug out the stones and put in lots of good nutrients to give the plants the best chance there is to put down good roots to withstand times of drought or flood and to produce a bountiful harvest!

As I was working, toiling away at this I was ofcourse thinking of the similarities in the spiritual life.  How we need to prepare our soil so that we can withstand the day of trouble and bear good fruit for the Lord.

TURN OVER the soil of our hearts that is to get rid of the rocks of unbelief and the stones of doubt. When you turn the soil over, rocks & stones rise to the surface and you can throw them out, get rid of them, don’t give them a place in your heart.

DIG IN the good things which will help feed us, like Bible reading, prayer, holiness, study of scripture, reading & hearing the word of God.

LAYER UP  with the disciplines of  Thankfulness, Repentance, Remembrance, Intercession, Meditation, Fellowship.

SOW in seeds of love, kindness, patience, faithfulness, steadfastness.

GROW deep roots when planted and watered by the Word of God and Prayer

HARVEST right living with God, bearing fruit for Him, giving glory to Him.

All the preparation leads to us THRIVING and this has been my ‘Word’ for the year, but in order to thrive in the drought, in the frost, in the downpours, in the dead of winter, in order for all that we have to put the work in now.  We have to prepare, dig in deep to God’s Word, bring His promises to remembrance, keep short accounts with Him, and in all things have a thankful heart.

The work now will keep us when troubles come, when faith is tested, when circumstances are hard, when we would waver and fall.  Then our roots in Jesus will keep us firm, the layering of disciplines will keep our walk straight and through it all we will thrive and bear fruit for the Lord.

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. [Ps 112:7].

Redeem

Belle City Church - Give them Beauty for Ashes

Joining again with the #Five Minute Friday Community of writers to write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt. Today’s prompt is: Redeem

I don’t know about you, but I have certainly been in the midst of tragic, painful circumstance which I have seen no way out and thought that is the way things would always be.

However, no so! God has redeemed my situations – not magically, not over night, not suddenly, not even noticeably! But He has, over the years, He has changed not just my circumstances, but changed me!

    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty – instead of ashes,

the oil of joy  –  instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise    instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

    a planting of the Lord  for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah 61:3

That is what God has done for me, through hard work, through diligence, through working my own programme, God has redeemed-

instead of ashes – a crown of beauty

instead of mourning – joy

instead of a spirit of despair – praise

He has made me an Oak of Righteousness, a planting for the Lord for the glory of His Name.

Whatever our messy story – God can Redeem it!