Always there

The fire destroyed little of our house, but it caused a huge rupture in the life of our family since we had to move out last December. Once the family were safely out of the house that day, the whole thing could have burned to the ground as far as I was concerned.

So much of our existence is spent papering over the flimsyness of our lives. As if our buildings and our soft furnishings and our decorations and stuff really matter. As if it isn’t all  just going to end up on someone’s bonfire someday. It’s hardly worth chasing, but a lot of energy goes into getting it or envying those who have it.

Five months on, the builders have started repairs ( the wheels turn slowly in this part of the world) and the end of the road is in sight.

I’m thankful.  Genuinely thankful.

That probably sounds pious. I don’t really care. It’s the truth. I’m grateful that I know who God is. That I know I am loved and cared for and provided for and that this is not all there is. I am thankful that I have family and friends through whom God has shown me what love looks like in practical and impractical ways.

I’m grateful for God’s word which tells me I can talk to God and through which, when I slow down and get quiet enough to listen, He actually talks to me. To me!

I’m delighted that I can share my victories, the days I get it all together, and my failures, when I fail altogether, with someone who knows me intimately and loves me the same always.

I am staggered that the same God who I read about in my Bible is  present in this little life of mine, my Source and my companion.

No matter what’s going on.




New Day’s Resolution

Juggling is easy. This is how you start. Throw the ball. Catch the ball.

That’s my plan. Throw the ball, catch the ball. Then add another. What I’ve done so far is throw the ball, become distracted and let it drop. Some time later, when I’ve got confident again, I’ve thrown another ball, remembered what happened last time, and dropped it. I am easily diverted. When I find a good use for that trait, It’ll be a good day.

I was looking for a verse to help me describe the kind of patience God has shown me over the years, and the closest I got was this one, in Acts 13, where Paul, preaching in a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch (present-day Turkey), is describing God’s dealings with Israel. In verse 18 he says ‘He endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert’.

He’s been enduring mine for a good while now, too.

I have struggled for years with that tension between trying to be really good, whatever I think that means, and trusting that I can believe God when I read that he loves me and I don’t have to try to make myself deserving of it. It is perhaps the greatest distraction of all. It stops me from enjoying my life too much for fear that this is somehow not Godly Behaviour and keeps my inner puritan fat on a diet of self-righteous self-denial. When I’ve had enough or my long suffering family gently sets me straight (or just laughs at me) it takes me a while to pick up the ball again and start playing.

But his mercies are new every morning. So off I go again.

Throw, catch, enjoy.