Category Archives: Uncategorized

You will not go down.

This spring I witnessed a river in flood. The ground shook. The noise of crashing water filled the air. Yet one HUGE boulder stood up above the flood. Sure, it had been worn smooth with centuries of troubles, but it stood its ground. It refused to budge.

I gazed at this rock and thought, “This is life. We get battered and overwhelmed, but we can still stand strong.” For, “When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down… Because I am God, your personal God… your Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:2-3) God holds us tight.

He won’t let us get swept away. He won’t let any of those troubles intimidate us. In him we can stand. In him we are safe, no matter the size of flood.

It’s so easy to get lost…

We spent this Easter walking the Yorkshire Dales and everywhere we looked, we saw sheep. But while the ewes walked sensibly from place to place, the lambs leapt about like crazy jumping beans. And those lambs kept losing their mothers, baaing with agony as they tried to reconnect.

close-up photography of white goat riding on two wheeled utility cart

I laughed at their antics, but then a verse came to mind: “We all, like sheep have gone astray, and each of us has turned to our own way…” (Isaiah 53:6) How often I forget about Jesus in the excitement of life, and gambol into lostness.

 Jesus understands. He goes into the fields. “He calls his own sheep and leads them out.” (John 10:3) We might lose Jesus, but he always calls us back.


Photo by Paulina et Jérôme on Unsplash

Hope in hopelessness

In January I gave a talk on hope. I struggled in the preparation and went to Derek for help. He asked me one question: “What is the opposite of hope?”

“It’s hopelessness,” I said, and suddenly I identified. I understood. Hopelessness is a deep dejection that nothing will improve, a choking fear that it will always be the same, a desperate feeling of no remedy or cure…

I am still thinking about hope, telling others, and applying it to my life. I trust this ‘Hope Hand’ blesses you as it has blessed me. 

The positive side of children leaving home…


  • You get to sleep – no more 1am chats about life.
  • You lose weight – no more watching films together and snacking on tortilla chips.
  • You have time alone with your partner – no more interruptions.
  • You can do what YOU want every Saturday – no more taking them to lessons or launching water rockets in a field.
  • You face yourself – no more avoiding the question, “Who am I really?”
  • You encounter hope – no more little hands to hold. You can hold onto God.

      (photo by James Garcia on Unsplash)

Make a splash!

Recently I scanned some illustrations I have been drawing, but the scans turned out awful. “What’s wrong with this machine?” I cried out. “They really do build some poor quality stuff!”

I blamed my paint and watercolor paper as well. I blamed my husband for not giving me wise advice. I even blamed God for encouraging me to go down this path, only to lead me into failure.

Then I remember a comment someone made: “When I was convinced that I was right, of course I thought everyone was wrong. But then one day it occurred to me, maybe I was at fault…”

I took the hit and looked at my life. “God, what am I missing here?”

It suddenly came to me. My illustrations reflected my heart. I felt like a fraud out there in the art world. I felt I had no right to illustrate a book. And how dare I go waltzing in without any training and think I could succeed.

“Boldness,” I felt God saying. “Boldness! I gave you this gift, and don’t downplay it. Use bright colors, strong lines, and make a splash!”

I did, and an amazing thing happened. The scanner worked!

 

It is God.

You might remember… my memoir wasn’t published because of a threat of legal action. A full year later the threat still exists. Yup! It’s an accomplishment that deserves the equivalent of a boy-scout badge.

It was also a test to find out what is really inside me. Sure, I found anger and the desire for revenge, but I also found something else. The strength to get back up. The ability to forgive. The courage to consider that I might be getting another badge next year.

I find God does that with troubles. He uses them to teach us about ourselves. He uses them to make us deeper and truer. “It is God who arms us with strength and makes our way perfect.” (from Psalm 18:32) It is God.

 

Pushed away

You probably know how hard it is when those we love push us away…

  • If you don’t do what I say, you can’t be my friend.
  • If you love me, you will never disagree with me.
  • If you care for me, you won’t tell the truth.

What are we supposed to do? We are upset and scared.Stacheldraht

But God doesn’t push us away. He says, “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men? … I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand.” (Isaiah 51:12,16)

God gives us his dignity. He gives us the wisdom how to respond. He protects us. We can move on.

Valley of Tears

Sometimes life seems to throw us more than we can cope with. Sometimes these troubles come at once… the washing machine breaking, the fridge, the car, the printer, the telephone, my boots… emotional griefs… death, rejection, and exhaustion… My tears flowed unhindered. I was truly in a deep, dark valley.

Then I got a paper cut and spilled lemon juice on it. I started to laugh. The solution was so simple, I rinsed my finger in water. When life stings, I immerse myself in God, his Word. I drink his peace and perspective. “As we pass through the Valley of Weeping, we make it a place of springs.” (Psalm 84:6)

Over the edge

DSC_0041 - CopyI’ve been working too hard, and have gone over the edge. Have you ever done that?

The sun was already setting. I had to get outside. And it was as if God was there. The sun spread out its arms, soothing me. I followed it until it set.

Maybe I’ll start chasing sunsets every day. God is bigger than work.

 

“Get me out of this mess!”

Sometime I feel like that thief on the cross. “Jesus! Get me out of this mess! I’ve been hung out to dry! It wasn’t my fault, really.”

clothes hung out to dryJesus looks over from his cross. “You might not have noticed, but I am with you.”

“No!” I cry. “I don’t want you to stay with me. I want you to save me.”

Jesus tries to shift himself so that he can breathe. “You might not have noticed… I am!