My hands… my past…

I thought I had left everything behind when I arrived in the UK at age 30 – a young bride. All I brought along was a small suitcase of clothes, a box of books and some wedding presents. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t care. I was starting again with Derek.

Now, after 30 years in the UK, 6 years in Portugal, I can say that we don’t ever leave everything behind. Memories still nip at our heels. The genetic code we inherited. Recently, my hands keep reminding me of someone from the past who used their hands for harm. Their hands and mine look identical. I want to hide mine away.

But then I remember, my ‘inherited’ hands come with MY heart. I can choose to use them for good. I can choose to undo harm. And as I do, I redeem my past.


Photo by Tiana:

This WILD Joy.

I was in a dark place at age 19. I felt like a prisoner. But one afternoon as I searched a mountain for blackberries, I paused to look around. For some reason, my heart leapt with a wild kind of joy.

I immediately corrected myself. Such an irrational wild joy was simply a figment of my imagination. It was an escapist emotion to protect me from harsh realities.

But now, decades later, I discover that there are several Bible words for joy.* One is agalloasis – a WILD JOY.

God gave it to Jesus when he anointed him “with the oil of [wild] joy” (Hebrew 1:9). And Jesus gave it to his followers, as they “ate together with [wild] joy and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46).

And he gives it to us, for we can stand “before his glorious presence without fault and with [wild] joy” Jude 1:24.

Oh, to embrace this in our hearts…

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

* research from