Finding inspiration for everyday life in everyday life

In the fray

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You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies – Psalm 23:5

Sometimes you can feel like you’ve reached the end of yourself and your ability to keep up the fight. The fight for your business. The fight for your children, your health, your relationships. You are at the end of your strength, your ability. But this is when God steps in. In the middle of the tough times, when you’re surrounded by the enemy.

Expect blessings.

Expect God.

“The presence of God is often discovered in the fray as He tends to live in the impossible, the unreasonable and the unbearable. If you are going through a tough time look around. He is near.”  (Kris Vallotton)

We often sing this song at church, “I raise a hallelujah”. Its opening line echoes Psalm 23, “I raise a hallelujah, in the presence of my enemies”. During the hard times, the trials, it is time to praise God. To acknowledge Him as our Shepherd, that He is in control. It is our opportunity through praise to invite God to step into our situation. To invite Heaven to fight for us.

Expect to see God in your situation, in your circumstances. He is there.

The Journey

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It’s an odd place to start writing about this journey. I’m not at the start of it, nor am I at its end – although I’m expecting it to end well shortly. But here in the middle is where I am. And in this part of the journey while there is still an unknown I want to remember this peace of God that is so strongly present.

It was an innocuous start, the simple mammogram. Squeezing the appointment in between work meetings and picking up my son from kindy it was simply ticking something off my list of things to do. Two days later though came the call back for an ultrasound. Not unusual either, but disconcerting nonetheless. A request to see a specialist followed. And then the referral for a biospy. Doctors reassure, but you’re well aware you’ve just fallen into a small minority and head down a path which can have serious results.

Today, a month after the mammogram the biospy is done and dusted. I celebrated with a coffee enroute home. Now it’s a wait for the results. I’m expecting good news.

Through each step of this very unwanted process, I have felt incredibly at peace. A peace that can only be attributed to Jesus – the Prince of Peace. Continually I have been reminded of His presence and His love for me. God has demonstrated that He is in control through Scripture and worship, to quotes that have come across my instagram feed, to friends and family that have reached out with love and prayers. Just yesterday a dear friend turned up at church with a Scripture the Lord gave her for me and a gardenia flower – not knowing that today I would be having a biopsy. I went to sleep that night with the fragrance of the gardenia reminding me that God is with me.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

I’m expecting this journey to end well. Just a little hiccup in my life and this chapter will finish as quickly as it began. But in this chapter, I was not alone. God was with me.

“She is not threatened by the battle that lies ahead, for she knows there will be victory in whatever the Lord has planned.” (Morgan Harper Nichols)

“Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting” (Kristine Dimarco)

‘My road may run through a glen of gloom but I fear no harm for you are beside me, your club, your staff they give me courage” (Psalm 23:4)

Hard Things

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In life we all have times when we encounter hard times or face hard things. Things that challenge us, stretch us and take us to the end of our limits, to the end of ourselves. Things that very much remind us of our humanity, our frality and our need for God.

I read recently the quote “pearls of peace are found in the trenches of trial.” In the most trying times, when dreams seem dead or the mountain too high to climb, God is there with us. He’s there to strengthen, comfort and encourage us. There is treasure to be found.

“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.” (Isaiah 45:3) 

During hard times, Jesus is the beacon in our darkness, our anchor in the storm. He’s the giver of the grace to get through another day. He’s the hope that keeps us pressing on. And He’s the peace that overrides our circumstances.

He is the Resurrection. The promise of a new day. The promise of victory won.

 

 

From the ashes – {Good Friday}

“In the middle of the ashes, the cross remains. A powerful reminder as we move toward Good Friday. No matter the devastation we face, no matter what is burned up, the cross is victorious and Sunday is on its way.” (Shelia Walsh) – The Cross in Notre Dame after the fire

He’s in the waiting

“Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting” (Kristine Dimarco)

Waiting. It’s a reality of life. Whether we’re waiting for a train or a bus to arrive or are simply at the traffic lights – waiting is in our everyday.

But there are also more poignant times of waiting. Good and bad. The positive ones come with anticipation, excitement and hope. It’s the waiting for the baby to arrive, the holiday, the fulfilment of a dream. Hope and expectation propel us through the waiting time. Gratitude and praise flow easily.

There’s also the waiting that’s undecided. They can be good or bad situations. The waiting for exam results, the job offer or the diagnosis. It’s a time of staying in faith and not letting anxiety creep in. A time for holding onto peace as you wait out the process.

Then there’s the hard seasons of waiting, the scary seasons, the ones with no end in sight and the not understood ones. It’s when we are waiting on prayers to be answered or for difficult seasons to end. Despair lurks, and fear can seem to shadow us. Keeping the faith, sustaining hope is the challenge.

But through it all, God is there. Present. With us in the waiting and working ALL things for our good and His glory.  With Him comes peace, hope and confidence that God has us. We need neither fear nor feel alone.

He is here in the middle of the struggle, in the in-between. In the not yet and in the not understood.” (Janie Taylor)

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7)

The Victory is the Lord’s

Grace in the air

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A reporter for the NZ Herald recently wrote that Holy Week used to feel for him as if “there was grace in the air.” And I’d have to agree. There’s something about Holy Week, as we follow Christ’s journey to the Cross, His death and His Resurrection, that intensifies our faith and makes us more aware of the presence of God.

To me, Holy Week brings grief, sorrow as we are confronted with His betrayal and death. But it also brings hope and joy as we focus on what His death and resurrection bought us. Easter it seems always reignites our faith and recalibrates our soul.

But at the same I am also challenged. For if we are truely living in the light of Resurrection Sunday, it should feel as if there is grace in the air everyday. I am reminded too of the words by Martin Luther – “what will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness?” Most of our days are just that mundane, ordinary, uneventual. No special day on the Christian Calendar. It’s not exhilarating, and it can be wearying.

But each ordinary day still holds the promise of His Kingdom coming…in the world and in us. Jesus is in the midst of our ordinary, our mundane. On every day we can live with the power and revelation of Resurrection Sunday. The resurrection of Jesus gives birth to a hope even though you’re in the middle of circumstances that deny a reason to have hope. God’s resurrection power turns death into life, despair into hope, weakness into strength. And we can live well in it for grace is there to be found.

This Lenten Season it is my prayer that I would grow more aware of God’s grace and peace around me.

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (1 Peter 2:1)

 


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