The Boy with the Basket

Boy_on_Boat,_Ganges_&_Jalangi_River_conjunction,_MayapurAsher lay flat in his reed boat. With his tired arms folded behind his head, he floated aimlessly on the lake. Looking up into the scorching sky, he imagined his boat was bulging with a hundred flipping fish. As he lay still beside his fish spear, two small silver tilapia fish flapped at his feet. The salty air hovered above him and although the sun was hidden behind a sheet of white sky, it was the hottest point of the day as he dreamt of fresh water.
He leaned his tiny body up, to hear the rolling words of Abba ripple along the hot sea all the way to the Jordon. Asher’s father was never to be ignored, although he looked the size of an ant across the lake of Galilee, he was not. In full view, Abba was the burliest man in Bathseida, and everyone knew it. Abba knew it. He was as wide as a giant and he was the most fearsome fisherman in the land.
Asher could feel his angry eyes burn him, as he paddled in a sweat to the shore. He hadn’t managed to use his hoop net that day, he could never get the knack of it, but his two small fish would hopefully keep him from a beating.
“Could I see you sleeping Asher?”
“No Abba, I was holding the fish down, look I caught two.”
Abba’s face showed no emotion as he glanced at the two scrawny fish.
“Go to the village and tell your mother to cook the fish and make more bread. My men are coming to feast when the day is done.” Abba said, as he clipped Asher over the head with his boulder of a hand; Asher bit his tongue and his eyes watered as he held a dead fish in each hand with a rusty hook.
The walk to Bathseida from the Lake was steep and the sun pounded his head like the hand of Abba. Asher’s eyes were big and dark and full of pain. Abba was a greedy man, his belly was always as full as a fish net, and he was cruel.
Asher wished to God that his Abba would say, “good catch.” He wished he was like his older brothers Aryeh and Abner. They were big like Abba and could catch a net of fish just like him too.
Asher walked slowly up to the village with his two-small fish. Crowds of wild-eyed people stared at his tiny hands with hungry bellies. Asher held his fish close and weaved between the sycamores and clusters of pistachio trees that bore no fruit. He wondered why there were so many people heading north today.
Then he heard them talk of the Nazarene and his magic tricks. Abba said to stay away from him- he was a devilish man who had cast a spell on his finest fishermen. Shimon and Andreus left their nets behind to follow him, and Abba had lost two of his best men to a mad man.
Asher reached home and went straight to the kitchen. The smell of baked bread filled the hot air and made his tummy howl. Imma looked up from her kneading table with her big, dusky eyes and her smile, that made Asher feel warm inside. She was the one that took his pain. Her eyes shone like black jewels as she looked at her youngest wilting in the doorway with his small fish.
“Good catch, Asher. Take some bread.”
Asher tore a big hunk of warm bread from the table and ate like a beast. He then drank a big cup of cool water and felt his frame lift with life again.
“Abba said to cook all the fish and make more bread. The men are coming.”
Imma’s eyes flickered in fear as she hung the fish over the cooking pot. She knew the night would be filled with wine and greedy men. Her heart twisted like a rag as she looked at the famished people heading up the high hill.
“I’m running out of oil.” Imma said as she began to bake more bread and wipe her brow. Asher curled up like a ball in the window and watched the crowds climb the hill.
“Is the Nazarene a devil, like Abba says?”
“No Ash, he casts the devils out.” Imma said as she took the two fish hanging over the fire pot and placed them in a basket with five loaves of bread.
“Go Asher, follow them and take this, feed your brothers if you see them on your way.”
“But what about Abba- he wants the fish and bread for the men?”
“I have more dried fish, don’t worry about Abba. Just go and follow the Nazarene. Try and get close to him and see for yourself.” Imma said in the darkness of the kitchen.
Asher left with his basket, clutched tightly to his chest. He knew it could be snatched by a skinny child if he was not watchful- they were hungrier than him. His tummy twisted when he thought of Imma. Abba would be home soon and there wasn’t enough bread.
The sun was low in the sky. Still hot, but not as baking as it was. The Nazarene was sat upon the hill as people gathered in large groups around him. Asher had never seen such a big crowd before. Even at the Synagogue, he had never seen as many as this.
The women and the children huddled on the grass, and the men flocked together in deep discussions, some said he was the Messiah, others said he was a hoax, and some called out to the magic man for miracles.
Asher got as close as he could, he saw Shimon and Andreus and a few other men speaking with the Nazarene. His name was Yeshua.
Asher leaned into a bush and tried to hide his basket from ravenous eyes. He could hear people uttering, “the boy with the basket…” His brothers were nowhere to be seen. Then, Andreus saw him. His eyes looked down to see his goods and Asher’s heart began to thud.
“You are Abbas’ son, yes? Do you have food in there?”
“Yes, just a bit of fish and bread.”
“The Master needs it.”
Asher’s eyes grew, as Yeshua looked upon him. His eyes were different. Dark like everybody else’s, but it was as though fresh water poured out from them and into Asher’s belly as he filled with warmth and lifted like a wilting flower in the sun.
Asher felt like the Nazarene and his little self were the only ones upon the hill at that very moment, and the thousands of people spread about in groups, might as well have disappeared like dust.
Asher’s heart was like a drum, as Yeshua’s eyes flickered like flames, and then he winked and said,
“Good catch.”
Asher’s mouth fell open like a cave. He stretched out his trembling hand and passed the basket of fish and bread to Andreus. Andreus took the basket to his Master and did not understand what he was about to do.
Yeshua held a loaf of bread up to the sky, he broke it in two and said thank you to his Abba. Then as the sun began to set in crimson stripes, Asher’s two small tilapia fish burst out of the basket, and just like his dream, hundreds of fish spilled out upon the ground and everyone began to stir.
The five small barley loaves of bread began to grow and grow and grow, and by the time the sun had fully sunk behind the sea, fifteen thousand bellies were as full as the moon.
Asher gripped the loop of his empty basket, but as he tried to pick it up, his eyes grew big again as he heaved it from the floor. He had three times the amount as before. Then he looked up to see Yeshua quietly slip away, further up the mountain. Asher weaved his way through the crowds and ran back down the hill, back home to Imma.
Abba’s voice bellowed in the dark. His big hand was raised high to Imma’s cheek. Her eyes shut tightly as she leant against the clay wall in a shudder.
“I got more bread and fish.” Said Asher as Abba put his arm back down and turned to see the silhouette of his tiny son standing in the doorway. Asher held out his basket and Abba snatched it, then he dropped it at Imma’s feet. The fish spilled out across the cool, stone floor, as he stormed away with a jug of wine.
Imma slumped to the dusty ground as Asher ran and hugged her close. He loved the smell of her skin against his face.
“I saw Yeshua- the Nazarene.” he whispered, “and he turned my two small fish and bread into a million.” Asher said with his big eyes looking up at her and blinking.
Imma wept and held him close. He didn’t know why she cried. She had escaped a beating and his news was good.
That night the moon was fat in the sky and the air was cool. Asher lay awake thinking about Yeshsua, and before the sun arose, a strong breeze blew through his window as he sat up quietly and looked out towards the sea. He saw a boat filled with men.
Asher lifted himself out of the window and up onto the roof to get a better look. His heart began to dance when he saw a man in the moonlight, walking on the water by the boat filled with men. The hairs on Asher’s arms stood up on end. He knew that he was not a ghost or a hoax. Deep in his little heart he knew the man could see him all the way up there, sat upon the roof.
It was Yeshua, the man from Nazarene, the one that looked inside his soul today and made his belly warm, the one with eyes like flickering flames, who said, “Good catch.”

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Thank you 2018

Thank you for your bright days and dark days.

Thank you for your snow drops pushing through the icy ground in February.

Thank you for your early summer’s warmth that stretched deep into September.

Thank you for autumn that came bursting with colour so vibrant, my tender heart began to HEAL.

Thank you for your winter days that beckoned me to sit by the fire and paint words across my pages, I wondered if I could write a book and I think I’ve discovered there’s a myriad in me.

Thank you 2018 for teaching me to crush fear beneath my feet with a PEACE the world can’t give.

Thank you for teaching me to pray in solitude and switch off my phone as time spent with JESUS is far richer than social media.

Thank you for teaching me under this paragon of a sky that UNDERSTANDING is the key to FORGIVENESS and that even when falsely accused; forgiving comes fast and fierce, because I know in the deepest part of me that our battles are not against people, but the darkness that swallows them.

So thank you 2018 for sharpening me.

And so I enter this next year with a CLEAN heart and a RENEWED mind; knowing that it’s in this REDEMPTIVE POWER I’m set FREE, and although hurt still lingers and healing is a longer journey; anxiety can’t consume me anymore.

So thank you 2018 for all your LIGHT and all your dark because beauty is born in the contrast- and as I come to the end of your tunnel, I open my arms wide to the new, fresh LIGHT of 2019 and promise to LOVE more deeply and GIVE more outrageously, and happily share the GOOD news with anyone who wants to know.

I will run faster and breathe in more fresh air and I will not allow the opinions of people to define me, for my Identity is in the ONE who holds me and HE will never let me go.💙

Dancing Daughter

DegasBallerinapuzzle

Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.

Brennan manning, Abbas Child

My tiny hand gripped the smooth pine barre as I stretched myself from the tip of my toes to the top of my head; wishing myself taller I willed my body into the arabesque posture, only to be snapped out of my daydream by the brutal tone of my ballet teacher who reminded me that I should be practicing fourth to fifth position with the rest of the girls in a perfect row. I was one of the 7 young girls lined up in pink shiny leotards, black leather ballet shoes and tight buns in blonde nets sat neatly on top of our heads; our images multiplied endlessly in the huge mirrors that filled the walls. My teacher told me I would never make it as a professional ballerina because I was too short, and even though I was eight years old she could tell by my physique that I would never be tall enough.
Still, I dreamt. And even though my heels always ached and my tummy filled with nerves, she would call out that my neck should be more extended like a swan, bottom squeezed in, tummy tucked and shoulders back and stop wriggling! I hated my ballet class, yet I was so desperate to go back week after week. I was so desperate to prove that I was wonderful and surely my teacher was mistaken. I dreamt of being on points and performing in The Nutcracker. During my dreaded classes, the 5 minutes of free dance is what made me come alive, that was what I was living for. The tedium of being in line diligently would dissolve as I would dream myself into a Degas painting; I filled the stage gloriously, the spotlight lit me up like an angel as I spun in pirouette’s and twirls.

The ballet phase surely faded, it was never meant to be, and my pernickety ballet teacher was right; I grew to 5 ft 2 and I would never be a famous ballerina. Throughout my childhood I was always drawn to the stage; I loved to perform. I loved Drama and studied Theatre at University. I performed at The Edinburgh Festival, it sounds marvelous but actually was a bit of a flop. Not that I was terrible but my heart was never fully in it. I was never excellent; I was good, but not excellent by the world’s standards, I was always pretty average. Or to use another word: Satisfactory.

One of my school reports during my primary years said I was Satisfactory at everything! In every subject I got Satisfactory, and I will never forget the joke that was made that I was Miss Satisfactory. I thought it funny but deep down words carry weight and they get lodged in our subconscious and before we know it they become us. The lie that what I do became incredibly important. My identity was being shaped and I learned the lie that we must be great at something and succeed in something grand to be worthy. What we do, rather than who we are takes centre stage.

Have you seen the film Florence Foster Jenkins? It’s recently aired on the BBC. Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant do well to bring the poignant story of this eccentric lady to light. Florence was an amateur soprano, she became famous for being what Steven Pile claimed, “The world’s worst opera singer, no one before her or since, has succeeded in liberating themselves quite so completely from the shackles of musical notation.” Unbeknown to the general public Florence was dying from Syphilis, she had money and connections in high places, she believed she was wonderful, even though she was a terrible singer she promoted herself. Her doting husband, Frank Jenkins tried his very best to protect her from “the mockers and the scoffers” and continued to encourage her to believe in herself despite the criticism. Frank loved her unconditionally and he would do anything to protect her from the ridicule that would eventually be her downfall. Her desire to be loved and admired by many was eventually what took her to her grave. What a heart-wrenching story! Frank’s devotion to her was profound, his adoration for who she was, was clearly more important than what she did.

The world has told us that what we do is who we are. But should our value be in who we are not what we do? I belong to my beloved Father and I am his beloved child and what I do or how I do it places no value upon who I am. I can dance before him in the most ridiculous fashion and he dotes on my every move. I can make a huge mess of things and he just smiles. Just as my little boys are so desperate to show me their moves and grooves my heart melts because to me they are perfectly imperfect, their quirks and mistakes just make them even more adorable. And so it is with God, he values our relationship with him far above our successes.

I’ve lived my life so far with such a desperation in my heart to be good at something and when I feel I’ve fallen short, I’ve felt despair. But, a new thing is rising up in my heart, a new song, and that is that I have finally discovered something that I am good at, and it’s not a good dancer, mother, wife, teacher, writer, speaker, cook or even a friend. It’s not for the world to judge. It’s better than that.

I’m good at faithfulness. I’m a prodigal daughter and I came home. And since I came home to the loving arms of my Daddy God I haven’t let him go and no matter what happens to me, no matter what calamity comes my way my faith grows stronger. I know that as I dance into the arms of my beloved, He adores my every move. He’s proud and pleased because I have given him my whole heart and I am faithful. And sure enough because my Daddy is creative, (He is the Creator after all) I too am creative and some of the things I create are good and some might even be grand, but that is by the by.

For what really matters is who I am and whose I am. And when I close my eyes, I’m dancing in an entirely different court. I lose myself in pirouettes and twirls and I am wonderful, and as I look up to see my father watch in adoration, He has the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen, they are like pools of piercing fiery blue, so full of love for me, so full of affirmation that when I look deep into them I begin to see myself. My true self. For I am His and He is mine; everything outside of that is an illusion.

Crazy Diamonds

rough

Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.

Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.

Search for them as you would silver;

seek them like hidden treasures.

Proverbs 3:2-4

Diamond is formed under insurmountable pressure and at a heat no man can synthesise. At depths of over 100 miles into the Earth’s mantle, these shiny, radical rocks have been growing since the beginning of time. They reach the earth’s surface through volcanic eruptions traveling at rates of up-to 30 mph hidden in pipes known as kimberlite, a volcanic material keeping them locked in its natural form.

How awesome is that? I’ve been home educating for 4 months now and my boys and I are loving learning in a whole new and practical way. The text-book is a thing of the past as we now launch ourselves like crazy diamonds upwards into the big wide world that is now our classroom. Wow, it feels like I have just rediscovered my boy, a shiny rock of incredible strength hidden in kimberlite. The heat is intense, and the pressure is on but my heart is full to overflowing.

We would rush out of the door in a wild frenzy every morning to get to school on time, and then I would pick up my son looking like he has been in a pressure cooker all day. With a perilous look in his eyes he would literally steam out of the school gates and up a tree before I could catch a breath, and don’t get me wrong, he is still up a tree… in fact his tree climbing has gone to whole new wild and wonderful level. But now we get to chill in the fresh of the morning, we get to play, read, write and create at our own pace. He loves to learn kinaesthetically, so we’re out and about every day and although these crazy diamonds do send me wild on a daily basis, I feel like I’ve got my boy back; I’m cracking open the kimberlite, and this quality little rock of a boy is in the palm of my hand.

I’ve known deep down my boys are not quite cut out for the status quo, but my life so far has taught me that it’s so easy to ignore that deep call within; it’s almost as if our instincts have become extinct in the world today. We deafen ourselves to ourselves, in the crazy heat of the days that catapult us at vast speeds with distractions left, right and centre no wonder we can’t hear ourselves think. We’re muffled and buried in a digital world. It takes so much will power to switch off the phone, move away from the screen, take a deep breath and listen.

I’m learning slowly but wisely to listen to myself. I’m discovering who I am and who I’m made to be. I’m under great pressure, and sometimes it feels like way too much, but I can feel myself being thrust upwards and I can see the light. It’s time to listen in the stillness to what my heart is saying, to what my children are saying and what our souls are yearning for. It’s time to listen to what the still, small voice whispers gently in the depth of my being.

I’ve always been drawn to the quirky creatives and I’ve always had a heart for those that don’t fit in. Probably because I’m somewhat quirky and creative myself. Yet, I’ve been striving my whole damn life to try to fit in…Why? I have never quite fit in, but there’s still a part of me that wishes I was ‘normal’ but hey, what on this crazy earth is normal?

When I married my extraordinary husband I was totally blown away by his brilliant and beautiful mind. It was only years into our marriage we discovered he has autism but that in itself was like digging deep to find a striking diamond in the hard ground. I’m so thankful to finally understand that his beautiful mind is formed differently to mine. I’m so grateful to finally be enlightened and have the power to create an environment so we can all flourish and grow; there’s so much power in this knowledge, there’s so much healing in it.

I’m tired of hearing people say they don’t like labels. I’m all for the labels and I’m not apologising for it. It’s time we stopped trying to ignore people who are different. Labels are not always damaging. Labels can be liberating. It’s time to accept people for who they are. Perhaps the problem isn’t the people who might be exhibiting ‘selfish’ behaviour but rather the rigid, unperceptive expectations that we put on them. Instead of making judgements about the man who didn’t look you in eyes at the party, the woman who didn’t smile at your joke, or the rude and uproarious child who can’t sit still in church or conform in the supermarket, perhaps we need to develop some discernment and grow a bit of grace.

I’m done with ‘normal’. It’s time to celebrate and honour the unique people who have been massively misunderstood for far too long, it`s time to make allowances and give grace upon grace, just like Jesus does with us all. We’ve come a long way from lobotomies and mental institutions, we’re marginally more inclusive these days; but, for those who are high functioning and neuro-diverse we are NOT inclusive enough. I’m done with striving to be like everyone else and I’m done with trying to fix what I can’t fix and that includes myself and my family. As the lovely quote by Alexander Den Heijer   goes…

When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.

Labels give breakthrough and exoneration and I’m not apologising for seeking them out for my children if necessary. The amount of high functioning children and adults with ADHD, PTSD or ASD (the list goes on…) that slip through the net without diagnosis is heartbreaking. I was a high school teacher for 9 years, I​`​ve seen it happen. The more I research ADHD (check out: graceunderpressure.blog)​ I’m outraged at how tragically misunderstood and unaccepted it is in our society, regardless of the fact that it is the most well researched and proven mental health condition in history. However, let us hope that the recent ground breaking research into brain development will shed a bright light into our children`s future.

It angers me when people make snap judgements about the behaviour of children. Misunderstanding is devastating. It has devastated my husband all his life and as I discover the wonderful minds of my children and even my own quirks and why I’ve always been a bit different, I realise that the characteristics we can be painfully insecure about can actually be our blessing. As Paul Scanlon so wisely put the other day,

If you misunderstand someone’s struggle, you will misunderstand their strength.

So me and my crazy diamonds are on a journey of discovery. We’re digging deep to find beautiful truths about who we are and who we are made to be and we are gloriously and unapologetically different. Our ‘differabilities’ will take us far as we channel ourselves like brilliant diamonds catapulted at full speed to the earth’s surface. And I’m proud to say that we are the real deal, we are pure, natural and unique… Oh, and just for the record, we are not ‘well behaved’ nor are we meant to be!

Are you feeling under insurmountable pressure today? Are you living in unbearable heat and not knowing how to handle yourself or the people around you that might behave in ways that don’t quite fit what we think should be ‘normal’? Can I encourage you my friend, no-one on this earth is ‘normal.’ Certainly, all behaviour must be addressed, but how about with a little more understanding and a whole lot of grace. We are all floundering around with our hands in the dirt, but if we are willing to be still and tune our ears to the deep call within, we will find hidden in dense gravel, inside the sparkling earthy blue kimberlite, the costly, shiny rock of a diamond that we are all made to be.

Blood Red Sky

redsky

My eyes turned to the blood red sky, cast like the bloody back of a scourged man bent and excruciated. His broken face pushed into the dust as they (we), nailed him to the wood laughing and scorning in unbelief.

The sky, beyond beautiful revealed the stripes of my saviour; cut in colours of fire my heart skipped a beat.  I knew in that moment, in my brokenness and sin, he was calling me back in a sweet, gentle voice, yet in a painting so violent and beautiful I could not help but surrender.

My mouth tasted bitter from the night before as I walked through the streets of Manchester on an early summer evening. My heart was heavy as I looked up at the stripy sky, a heart shred from the internal self harm I had done to myself over and over. Sleeping with the enemy and drinking his poison my body was done for, my soul wrenched open, the world had crucified me and although I kept going back for more… I knew this time it was different.

My spirit has been awoken, I could see Jesus in the fire. Unharmed and waiting with arms open, his hands with holes of light and blood washed clean. He was bright, white and with eyes so kind, loving and piercing that they could break the strongest and hardest of men. Even men of terror.

Ten years ago I gave my broken heart back to Jesus. I learned that there is only one God that loves without measure, that he is more powerful than the darkest power on earth, he is brighter than the sun and can extinguish every evil. He is not a tyrant or a terrorist, he does not kill to purify a race or religion, he does not hate. He is Love, he is the light of the world and he is opening the skies. His angelic force is without number, he is both in and out of time. His heaven is real and he will return, in fact He’s on his way.

God does not pay back evil for evil, he is not an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth god. He does not punish, he does not get revenge… he dealt with that on The Cross. That’s the whole point of The Cross. He died for every tragedy that has ever been and every tragedy that will be. His blood has set us free.

Is this too much blood talk?

Too much Christian craziness?

Craziness is suicide bombing, craziness is extremism and hatred in the name of God.
Truth is that there is more to life than the cataclysmic reality of what we see on the news today. Truth is that we are not doomed. Truth is God is full of love, that is why he created this earth and all of us in it.  Every good thing comes from him. God is love. And perfect love casts out all fear.

So let’s drop our weapons and look up at the sky, it’s blood red and beautiful. By his stripes we are set free. God has already dealt with every brutal tragedy and will deal with every kind of terror. And I pray for those lost in the deep, dark grip of extremism and I pray that they are stopped in their tracks and that they fall to their knees and surrender to the One True God that can save them.

I am praying for Manchester today, the city where I was born and born again and thank God for this precious place. And I pray that the people who have lost their loved ones find the peace that is not of this world, I pray for broken hearts mended and an infusion of hope and light so bright it will light up the darkest places.

‘Look, He comes with the clouds of heaven

And everyone will see Him,

Even those who pierced Him.

And all the nations of the world will mourn for him.

Yes! Amen!’Revelation 1:7

Into Something Beautiful

“We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis.”

LeeAnn Taylor

 

butterfly

 

My wild and wonderful son ran full speed into the door frame. He hit his eye and shrieked in pain laying crumpled in a heap on the floor. I ran and held him close and whispered, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” and kissed his eye and hugged him tight. When he calmed down a little, he looked up and said, ” Why are you sorry mummy? It’s not your fault.” I smiled and said, “I know, but I feel sorry. I didn’t cause the pain but I feel sorry and wish it hadn’t happened.”

It struck me that this is how God feels as a loving Father, he is sorry for the suffering we have to endure here on earth. Even though he doesn’t cause it, it breaks his heart to see us suffer and he wants to hold us tight when we are hurting.

I think the biggest question in all of history is not- is God real? The biggest question is- is God good?

I’ve pretty much believed in the existence of God all my life, but I’ve not always believed in the goodness of God. Sure I have said he is good a thousand times and never have I thought him a tyrant, but I have without realising it thought that because bad things happen and he has the power to stop them then it must be his will. I have somehow morphed him into a God who loves us but sometimes he stands back, arms folded and watches us suffer because we need to learn from the trial. Many people might nod their head and agree with this, but over the last few years and especially in recent days I have come to realise that this is a distorted view of my loving Father. In fact it’s a dangerous view of God because when I think like this I shut the door to intimacy with him and it’s in his affection that I find the joy and peace that I need to endure the trial in the first place.

God is a good, good Father and it breaks his heart to see the world suffer. It breaks his heart to see his children sick, it killed him (literally on the cross) when we fight each-other, wage war and suffer horrendous trials that come in too many different forms to count.

When we believe the lie that he’s letting the trial happen to teach us a lesson we shun the very spirit that is there to redeem us from the trial. We shun the very promise that he works all things together for good. If we let him, he morphs everything dark into something bright and beautiful. And in that redemption we simply have the benefit of being refined in the fire, morphed into something beautiful. Out of the ashes we come out stronger, wiser and more beautiful than before because that is the grace of God working everything for good. But, never should we think that it was his will to begin with, that he planned the trial on purpose. Yes of course he knew that we would hit the trial before it happened but this doesn’t mean to say he wanted this. Instead, thankfully by his amazing grace he is able to prepare our hearts for the suffering coming our way and he is ready to equip us with what we need yet he is so painfully sorry about what we will encounter.

If my precious son had not hit his eye I would not have sown love and grace into him in that particular moment, and those seeds sown into his heart in turn will lead him to reach out to someone else in need one day. Every seed of love sown has a knock on effect. The butterfly effect. A beautiful metamorphosis is taking place. But, this doesn’t mean to say I am glad he hurt himself in the first place. That is ludicrous. And so it is with our loving Father. He isn’t glad when tragedy strikes, it isn’t some twisted plan to make us stronger… but out of every accident, every mistake, every suffering, he is there with open arms ready to hold us tight, kiss our wounds, give us strength and morph us into something beautiful.

Kaleidoscopic Heart

Kaleidoscope-Love-Heart

”For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.’ DH Lawrence.

 

I woke up on Sunday morning by the raucous cheers of my merry-making boys. I felt weary, my body heavy, a head full of cold and a flawed heart; a heart not ready to pour gentle grace into my precious family. I only had just short of an hour to feed the boys breakfast, get everyone dressed, shower, dress myself, change a nappy, gather snacks, feed the cat and get to church on time in a somewhat military fashion.

The sky looked unpromising as my husband turned the worship music up to drown out the inharmonious sounds in the back of the car. I’m usually excited about going to church, but on this day I really didn’t want to face people and I really didn’t feel like I had the energy to raise my hands to God and be thankful. Lately I have been pondering my past and the journey of my life and I have felt some wounds re-open, ones I thought had healed. TD Jakes says, ‘I am reminded of what my mother used to say, she would take the band- aid off, clean the wound and say, “things that are covered don’t heal well.’

As I entered church already feeling exhausted, the music began. I felt ashamed, exposed, even though no one knew how I was feeling I wore that smile that said I was fine. I held my youngest tight as he wrapped his little legs around me like a little security blanket, and I began to sing. At first I began to sing dutifully, but as I closed my eyes and thanked God for my life and my family and the fact that I am in His house and no-longer lost, a joy began to well up in me. I was reminded that joy is not a feeling, it’s a fruit, a fruit of the spirit. His Spirit. His joy. I began to feel His joy for me. I am his joy. I felt the eyes of my heart begin to sharpen, I began to feel my cracked heart fill with light.

I pictured myself at the edge of the sea and I began to wade towards the waves, I felt brave and wonderful. Angels surrounded me as they flew above the surface of the  crystal clear water, the most amazing blue I had ever seen. The sun shone on my skin and I felt an incredible love fill me from head to toe and my heart was visible like glass, cracked but still in shape, shafts of light shone through. The surface of my heart was like a prism of many colours and stunning mosaic swirls. I realised that even though my heart feels fractured and I don’t always understand what is going on and why certain things are happening to me, he was reminding me that he lives in my heart, he lives in my pain, my heart is His dwelling place and although I carry a lot of hurt from years and years of walking on a rocky road, He is the One that holds it together and although it feels broken sometimes, it isn’t shattered, it isn’t smashed to pieces…

It is cracked like a kaleidoscope of brilliant colours and If I hadn’t lived the life that I had lived then I wouldn’t see this beauty and it is an honour to allow the brilliant and beautiful light of my living God shine through this broken vessel, through these stunning swirls and beautiful cracks. In this perfect moment I saw that my heart is not fully mended and perhaps it never will be, perhaps I will forever hold this hurting heart because my heart is way too sensitive for this broken world I live in, but one thing I do know is that as I live with my lovely, cracked kaleidoscopic heart I am beautiful and I carry a joy that will never go away and when I meet my saviour face to face I know my heart will be whole.

Just as the worship music came to an end my lovely friend began the meeting with a word from God. As she began to talk my heart leaped as she shared that a few days earlier she was stood on the beach and as she took a deep breath at the water’s edge the anxiety that consumed her disappeared, and how this is a picture of how Jesus is ready to calm our fears and fills us with his peace.

I love it how God meets us exactly where we are and sometimes in the most unexpected places. He’s even willing to turn up in my crazy imagination. I love it how not one of us ‘has it all together’ whatever that means. We are all a work in progress. No matter how dark or broken someone’s heart is; Jesus doesn’t judge. He is waiting full of unconditional love to enter each dark crevice and fill them with his shafts of light and turn each hurting heart into something bright and beautiful. No matter how black and broken a heart might be, like a lovely, dawn- kaleidoscopic within the crack he turns each crack, each dark story into something utterly amazing.

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