For When you Struggle to Relate

You know some blog-posts have such an impact on you and nearly bring you to tears?  Well, this one did.  It’s about a lady’s trip to Haiti, the connections she made and the contrasts between her life and theirs.  She mentioned the boy who couldn’t read, whose sponsor sent a picture of them as a couple, smiling and hugging in Central Park.  He stands in the doorway of a darkened, windowless shack, holding a picture of a happy couple in Central Park?

It made me think of my Jennylyn in the Philippines, and how I’m just the same.  How can I relate to her?  “Pray for my parents,” she writes, “that they’ll be healthy and happy.”  I think of my parents and sister on the bank-holiday weekend – how we enjoyed lunch together and the warmth of the garden.  We’ve had our struggles, but we’ve come out the other side.  I wish I could tell Jennylyn her life will be like that too – that 20 years from now, she’ll be sitting in the sunshine with her parents and brother, grateful for one another’s company, but how do I know her life will change for the better?  My parents’ marriage was never under the strain of poverty.  One never left the family-home just to find work to put food on the table.  What comfort can I give her?  What promise can I make to her that won’t disappoint?

Any promise that doesn’t disappoint has to be one based on truth.  In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  I’ve found it comforting in the past to know that even though I don’t understand how, if I love God, He’ll bring good out of whatever situation I’m in.  The LORD delights in the wellbeing of His servant (Psalm 35:27).  Even though Jennylyn’s circumstances might not be ideal, God delights in her wellbeing.

Are you a sponsor?  If you are, tell your child some of the struggles your family’s endured if you want to; it’s lovely to share your lives together, but accept they might still be a million miles away from the problems your child’s facing, and sometimes the only sure answers you’ll be able to give are the ones from God’s Word.

Message of the Month

What would my ‘Message of the month’ be to my readers?  I think the words of Jesus in John 10:10:  The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.  Jesus came that we might have life, and have it to the full.  Jesus didn’t have to go to the cross to die for our freedom.

 

So, to Zoe who’s always inspired me, and to Helene who (without knowing it) has taught me lately to make the most of my life and live it as fully as I can, thank you.

 

We have a glorious future, prepared and planned out for us in heaven.  If you’re still breathing, it’s because God loves you enough to have kept you alive to enjoy it, starting today.

Cwmbran

I don’t know whether any of my readers are wondering about this Welsh outpouring I was so excited about.  Did it live up to expectation?  Would I go back?

 

Well, I was one of the first in to the meeting, as they allowed people with disabilities and their regular church-family in through another entrance.  I lost track of time when I was in that room, but maybe about half an hour beforehand we were asked, as the worship-team did their sound-check, just to begin to pray and give God some praise.  That’s what people came into – us praising and worshipping God.  Brilliant!  They didn’t make a big thing of starting the meeting; people just joined in as they arrived.

 

As we worshipped, the pastors felt the time had come to pray for people, and encouraged us to believe we were receiving something from God that we could take back with us.  Those wanting prayer went to the front while others carried on worshipping, and this is what they sang as I was prayed-for.

“Just one touch from the King

Changes everything.”

 

The message was all about the Israelites when they had crossed the Red Sea and came to a place where they couldn’t drink the water; then God showed Moses a tree, and Moses put a piece of wood into the water and it became sweet.  The tree was there all along, but Moses didn’t see it.  How many times is God there all along and we don’t see?

 

What the preacher said that really spoke to me was:  “You can’t live someone else’s life for them when they’re completely off their trolley, when they’ve messed up, but you can live your life … keep your life sweet, and keep the cross at the centre.”  That’s what God is doing in me at the moment – teaching me to keep my life sweet.

 

Before I went to Cwmbran, a pastor there gave one guarantee:  Not a guarantee that everyone who went would be healed, but a guarantee that they would experience the tangible presence of Jesus … and I did.  So yes – it lived up to expectation, and would I go back?  Absolutely!

 

The meetings are still going on with hundreds coming to Victory Church from all over the world.  Will you be one of them?

5-Minute Friday: Song

I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo today for one of her 5-minute Friday posts.  Fancy joining in?  She just gives you a prompt and you write for 5 minutes.  Simple.  Then you can link your post up to her blog and read others.

 

Well, this week’s prompt is ‘Song’.

* * *

“We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are fixed on You.”  Somebody talked about that just the other day as I sat watching from my lounge, and this morning it came back into my head.  Because when we don’t know what to do, that’s the best thing we can do is turn up the music and let songs of praise flood the house.  Fix our eyes on Jesus.

 

“Don’t tell God about your problem; tell your problem about your God” – another quote I heard the other day, and isn’t that true – that the more we focus on our problems the more unattractive we become?

 

So I’m asking for joy.  Asking for songs of joy, from the One who rejoices over me with singing.

Taxi!

I’ve never encountered this before, so I thought I’d blog about it just to give you a laugh.

I’m going on a bit of an adventure on Monday.  Do you remember in the A-Z challenge I wrote about the Welsh outpouring?  I said it made me feel like jumping in a vehicle and heading straight there – well, I’m finally going!  I have to book assistance on the trains and the nearest station to where I’m headed doesn’t have any staff.  I could go to the one further down the line that does, but the taxi fare from there to the hotel is about double, so I looked at train-times and phoned a taxi firm.  I explained I was blind, didn’t live in the area, and could a driver meet me on the platform and show me the way to the car?  Simple you might think, but no, this is the laughable bit.  They weren’t happy to do it, unless I gave them my permission for the driver to touch me!  Has the world gone mad?  I sensed they were uncomfortable, so I found another taxi firm.  Yes, they would meet me on the platform; did I have a white stick or a dog so they’d know who I was?  And yes, they’d put me on the train next day; no problem at all.

Gwent Taxies, and all the taxi firms round here come to that, thank you for having some sanity!

Yesterday

I did something yesterday that I do just a few times a year; I went on a train-journey, and I want to thank God for the way He provided for me.  Although enjoyable it was looking to be a bit of a challenging day, so I said to Him:  “Please could I have a Scripture for the day, or more than one?”  And what unread messages do I open before I go?  This one with a tonne of Bible-verses in, and this reminder about grace.  They really helped.

 

If you remember my post about the 2 questions I asked God, you’ll know why fear bothers me, and yet it’s been a weakness of mine.  My big struggle has been a phobia of dogs.  On the train about halfway through my outward journey, a dog barked.  It was a few seats in front of me; I didn’t know exactly where, and I didn’t know whether the owner would let it walk around the train a bit.  I stiffened a little, but then I decided to get out the Bible-verse I had carried in my handbag for a month or so – the one that says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I kept it in my hand for a while, and again this really helped – just to have a tangible reminder.  When I felt my body tense up, I told myself:  “I can do ALL things, even being on a train with dogs, through Christ who gives me strength.”  Eventually I put the card away and sat there quite normally, which was a miracle and I don’t say that lightly.

 

I got to where I needed to be and was all for doing what I could while I was there to do it, but once we’d done the most important things, my friend said:  “I just want to chat to you for a bit.”  Then God answered my morning’s prayer again and I thought of Martha and Mary.  Just sitting with one another is important too.

 

On the way back, when a train had stopped at the platform and no member of staff came to help me onto it, a lovely lady heading for the same train said:  “You’re welcome to get on with me.”  And when we had to wait for police to remove someone from the train, even though thanks to recent events in Boston my first thought was terrorism, I had complete peace that it was going to be ok.  We soon found it was just someone trying to get out of paying for his ticket.

 

So, don’t tell me God doesn’t care, because I probably won’t believe you.