The last month of this past winter felt hard to get through and so I was glad when the first day of Spring arrived this week, and with it the first rays of warm sunshine. This has been one of the toughest winters I remember and the snow stuck around for longer than I remember, it’s beauty long gone, hidden under layer upon layer of roadside grime. It is good to see the colour returning to the ground outside and to feel the warmth in the sun and in the breeze. Winter is over for another year and it seems to have left me feeling less young and more tired, though I put the latter down to a case of what Slovaks call “Spring tiredness”.
Years ago, while I was still living in Banska Bystrica, there was a case in the local news about a tragic and yet highly avoidable accident, which took the lives of a father and his sons as they sat in their living room. To this day I don’t know what possessed this particular Dad to bring a hand grenade home to show his children, nor where he got it from but what he most likely intended to be a bit of bravado turned deadly when the hand grenade’s safety pin somehow got removed and the grenade exploded, killing all those present, except his wife who had stepped into the kitchen for a few moments.
One of my biggest struggles/frustrations/issues as a parent is learning how to pass on a
living Christian faith to my four children.
Thankfully, God didn’t leave us clueless and helpless in this parenting business and He has provided a framework which, though not a hundred percent successful because we live in a fallen world, allows us parents to give our children the best possible chance for developing a healthy spirituality.
Worry doesn’t only steal sleep from us. It steals joy and spontaneity from our lives and it steals never-to-be-repeated opportunities…Why is it so hard for us to let go of our fears when we can see how damaging they can be?
Sometimes I feel like Martha, distracted with all her preparations to prepare a wonderful feast and welcoming environment for the Lord Jesus.Like Martha, I get distracted with all the elements that I think should be “just right” in my life. My goals get muddled up and I end up frustrated.
“But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40-42)
Ever since the Fall man has been playing hide and seek with God.
It began with the first bite from that tempting fruit, the one Eve so readily shared with Adam and which was man’s first attempt to find satisfaction in something other than that which God was offering.
And the game began.
Man hides, God seeks.
Just like Adam and Eve we hide because we are ashamed and we think that by staying in the shadows, we will avoid detection and that we can avoid dealing with our messes. But just like in that very first garden, God pursues us, wherever we are hiding, and lovingly draws us towards the light. Because He knows that we cannot put our messes to right while we hide in the dark.
There are so MANY words flying around. There are so MANY words claiming our attention, our agreement, and our engagement.
Has anyone else noticed?
I start to feel overwhelmed by them sometimes.
How do I choose?
How do I choose what to listen to, what to ignore, or what to combat?
Don’t you love them? Isn’t there something truly delightful in the whole process of giving and receiving gifts?
I have been given many gifts in my life and though they have varied in size and importance I have valued them. I love the little reminders around my home that someone at sometime thought of me. I value the giver and I value that they have thought of me as they have wrapped a gift intended to bring pleasure and an expression of love. I delight in my gifts. If you have been to my home, you know that knickknacks adorn my shelves and windowsills.Occasionally I de-clutter and put some things away for a while but I cannot bring myself to throw any of them away. There are too many treasured memories attached to them. I still have things on my shelves which I was given as a child and which have become part of the fabric of my home.
November. How does it strike you? What does it evoke for you?
In some ways it is not at all my favourite month, in others it will always be special. I was born in November and while I was growing up, November always meant magical moments of anticipation for me. November was special. So much so that I felt annoyed and even offended with the sentiments in Sara Coleridge’s Months poem because she made November sound so unappealing.
How was your week?
Mine has been …well, busy.
I suspect that, like me, many of you have had a busy week too. But today I find myself asking an important question. What did I actually do? I mean, what did I actually achieve? I cooked and baked and cleaned and washed and hung and folded and shopped and sorted. I counselled and corrected and supervised and scolded. I taught and walked and tidied and swept.
But what did I actually do?
God is good.
Sometimes I struggle to really believe that God is good. Oh, I confess it with my mouth and consent to it in my mind but when it comes down to it I find on the heart level a suspicion that God is not as good as I would like Him to be, a doubt that He will indeed work out all things for good in my life. It is easy to rest in God’s goodness when things are going well but when hard times are prolonged, our faith in His unchanging goodness can be sorely tested. “Is God really good?” comes the not-so-subtle whisper when life is hard. Even though we confess it with our lips, do we not all struggle with the thought at times that God is only mostly good, that there are times when He simply isn’t good, at least not towards us?