Tree Surgery!

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This morning I was somewhat rudely awoken (early!) by a number of loud voices and the revving of chainsaws! I tried to ignore it and catch a few more minutes of sleep… but it wasn’t to be!

Over the morning I watched one guy, loudly and very nimbly, climb the huge tree next door and begin to lop off the high branches. Down below others guided him with ropes and shouts of directions and encouragement as to where and how to take this tree down!

The HUGE larch gradually fell down in great thuds as massive logs of the tree plummeted to the ground! I have to admit I was rather sad to see this lovely tree come down … it must have been there for over 80 years or so! What a history of comings and goings it must have observed.

But down it came – and then they started on another!

What a life lesson!

How many times are there things in our lives that have been standing there for years and become part of the scenery… to the point where they are part of us and too familiar.

Sadly this tree that was coming down was rotten and part of a cull of potentially diseased trees.

If it was left to stand much longer then, it could cause so much damage if winds and stormy weather brought it down.

I wonder what things in our life have been in us – attitudes, reactions, sin, habits, even relationships or things that we take for granted that are “part of us” and “always been there”?

Because we look okay and seem to be standing strong, doesn’t always mean that things on the inside of us are strong and good. Maybe there’s some stuff in our lives that really needs dealing with before the storm brings a disaster!

The guys next door doing this job had been consulted about the trees, they were professional tree surgeons and knew, not only what needed to be done, but also how to do it… safely and securely. And so our neighbour was happy to leave the execution of this operation to them, knowing they would be wise in their handling of the tree.

When we come to God with our lives, with our outward appearances and our inner turmoils … He is the Master tree surgeon who knows exactly when, where and how to deal with the rotten or potentially rotten stuff lurking around us. He doesn’t fell the tree in one “fell – swoop” but takes it down gently and compassionately, and with great care!

So as I come to Him- I can confidently ask Him to see my innermost being (Psalm 139) and let Him be the tree surgeon of my heart… knowing He will take great care to take out that which is not good and wholesome and that He will leave the garden of my life better and more fruitful. (John 15)

The tree will be a miss – initially! But I must say the view is amazing and the light that comes into my house now… worth all the noise, shouting and early morning wake! And, what is more, my greenhouse now gets more sun! Good fruit, all in all!

When the mists threaten to overwhelm you

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Swirling cloud, TenerifeRecently, Mark and I have been on holiday in Tenerife.

Beautiful landscapes which are quite awe-inspiring! From the black volcanic beaches to the mountain views and the barren, almost moon-like expanses.

One day we drove up the winding mountain roads (passing so many incredibly fit cyclists!), stopping now and again to admire the views and stretch our legs… amazing! We loved the trip!

A couple of days later, we decided to go back up the mountainous roads to see the views again!

This time the sun didn’t seem to shine, the mist was heavy and shrouded everything to the point we could only see a few yards ahead of us. We crawled, slowly up the roads and came across a few cars who had pulled into the side of the road and were turning round to go back down to the beaches.

As we crept up these roads with our headlights and fog lights on, I was so aware of the God’s still nudge of His voice saying, “The road is the same as it was yesterday. The views are still there – just because you can’t see it all – it hasn’t changed… stay the path!”

So we kept going and sure enough a while later, after driving carefully and slowly the clouds began to swirl dramatically around us and we came out into clear blue skies and amazing views once again.

What a life lesson!

How many times do we feel like giving up and turning back because we can’t see the way ahead, or because the view is not much fun!

On those tough stretches of life’s journey, it’s easy to feel hopeless and want to go back down to what is known and comfortable.

Yet to those who would, maybe slowly, but steadily keep going, remember – the path hasn’t changed! The familiar points are still there, even if they are shrouded in mist. Step by step and mile by mile… you will come through into the light and sunshine once again.

Don’t give up on what you have known to be True, right and what you have learnt of the Love of God… the clouds will lift and the dawn will break and your trek will be worth the long haul!.

Stay the path!

Stay faithful to the Faithful One! Take His hand and lean in to hear His voice saying “Keep on, dear one, keep on! I’m still as true in the mist as I was in the sunshine.”

Be encouraged today to keep on!

 

 

The Brave are Among us!

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bright umbrella in stormdark clouds with bowBrave women are among us… doing life – with all the ugliness and beauty wrapped together.

Each of us has a story and each of us has anthem to our lives.

Part of our journey is living that story out and singing our anthem loud!

Bravery is not only about “war-time heroes” or hunky heroes who rescue lost folk on mountain sides or from burning buildings.

Bravery is all about holding our heads up when the weather is awful in our lives… when the climate of our situations are stormy or long drawn-out grey! It is brave to peer through the wind and the icy clutches of the rain and know there is a better day ahead! It is brave to put ourselves out for each other and carry one another through those awful times.

Many of us have gone through terrible times… and your terrible time may not resonate with my terrible time in exactness… but the griefs and heartaches are just as painful, bringing days, if not weeks or even months of sorrow and weeping.

We never feel brave going through stuff… not even after and further down the road do we feel as if we were brave. But we survived and have grown. We have a story to tell of heartache and pain… but also of love, of kindness and hope.

Don’t be ashamed of your story. Let it bring out your anthem- your song in the night.

The beauty of the pain is it has the power to transform us- yes into someone of anger and regret… OR, of someone who sees the rainbow in the storm and is stronger and more compassionate because of it.

Allow other brave women to walk with you, silently maybe, but let them be there – for they too have known this path and know the rocks and the potholes along the way.

They too can hold your hand and say look up… the dawn is coming !

I went back to a very old song that I have always loved..”Mountain Tops”  2nd Chapter of Acts… I recommend you listen to it! 🙂

http://www.invubu.com/lyrics/show/2nd_Chapter_Of_Acts/Mountain_Tops.html

Generosity – continued!

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Hand glowingA few weeks ago I posted a blog about being generous.

Some more thoughts to take to our hearts:

Considering we love people being generous towards us… in their gifts, and manners and speech… it makes me pose the question, how generous are you and I toward our loved ones? – To our spouse, our children, parents, siblings?

They say “charity begins at home” and as charity depends on people’s generosity… I dare ask … how generous are you to those in your family… to your spouse, children, siblings or parents?

It’s so easy to love people being kind to us, but how easier it is to be kind to strangers (or friends!) than to be generous in our kindness to those we live with!

And so I send out a challenge to you today… are you really kind to your loved ones?

What would it take for you to lay down your expectations of being treated well and kindly and actually starting to consider them and making them the recipients of your kindness and generosity?

Think about it… it could change your world – if you dare to act upon it… without expecting any reward!

OUCH!!!

Keep in lane!

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running in my laneRecently I heard a message about running the race, and keeping in lane!

Great reminder… I needed to hear it!

How easy it is to run a race and tip into another lane… trying to keep up with someone else or trying to be like them.

I thank God He has called us to run our own race!

St Paul says, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

It made me really look at what MY race is – it’s part of the race of life, doing the race with others, and running as to win… but it is also about me… keeping in my lane and not encroaching onto another person’s lane because it seems a better, or easier lane to run in.
God tell us that He has called us by name and that He knows all about us,(Isaiah 43:1, Psalm 139) and that He directs our paths.

As I look at those around me … I can be encouraged by their running the race, but I can also take courage and hope in running mine… which most probably has some similarities, but may also have some differences. I need to stay close to the Lord to know how my race looks and how my responses, my “way” of running is the one I need to concentrate on. I don’t need to compare myself, try to run the way Jack or Jane does it… in the “rightest” sense – I need to run it “my way”… my way that is the way God has set out for me.

Then I can run as to win… safe, secure in this: “ May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (1 Thess 5:23-24)

Note to self: must get my running shoes repaired!

Welcome Home!

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Amazing – my daughter, herheart hands 2 husband and their daughter(my granddaughter!) have returned home.

They went to Australia about 21 months ago, when my granddaughter was 3 months old.

They went to work and be with family there for a season, and now they have returned – to a new adventure… not certain of what is next, but ready for the next stage of life!

At our home , here, we have been preparing for them, re-arranging bedrooms, sorting, clearing, decorating, getting rid of junk and making this home ready for them to feel welcome and at home. We’ve shopped and bought in things they will need and we have worked hard to make a place for them. When they arrived and are here now – we are so happy, so excited and so ready for the part they will play in our lives… and ready for them to grow and develop in their own family unit as they are here.

I am reminded of how God prepares for those who have been away from Him! How the angels rejoice when “one sinner repents”. How Jesus says He goes to prepare a place for us, and how He knows the way we take and is not worried or stressed when our journey ‘s not smooth.

How wonderful to know there is a “Welcome home” for us as we return to the Father’s love.

My family, returning, don’t fully know what is next… ideas and thoughts but nothing definite.

They don’t have all the answers and everything is not all settled and certain… but one thing they do know – things are ready for them, we have made preparations … and they are so very welcome!!!… Welcome to come, live, grow and plan…. Oh that we would understand the Love of the Father to those who would return… no condemnation, no retribution… just an open- arms welcome and preparations they had no idea that had been done… in readiness for their homecoming.

So – how about you?… ready to come home?… The Love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have made preparations for you … they welcome you back with open arms.

How wonderful this is … whether you understand what has been prepared or not, whether you are aware of the anticipation of heaven, or not … you are so very – “Welcome Home!”

Good News/ Bad News

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NewspaperWe all love good news… we love the excitement and the joy an engagement, a birth or a surprise brings us. We love the relief of a happy announcement or the all clear from the Dr…. we are happy to give thank s and praise when the sun is shining and the weather is favourable.

God is good, and we are happy to say so!

But what happens when the news is not so good? When the pronouncement is sad or disappointing?

How do we feel and react when we get a poor report or we are left feeling shocked and uncertain?

Well… God is still good!!

His promises change not!

His Love endures forever!

His Mercy is new every morning!

His Grace is abundant!

Maybe the “not so good news” is an opportunity to tap into His Abundance and Presence.

Our faith is more than the fair weather sort… Our faith can find its hope, its rest and its future in Christ alone.

Tough days? Great God!

My prayer today is that instead of being brought low by bad news, we rise to the love of God and find our peace our joy and our strength in Him!

Somebody shout Amen and Hallelujah!!!

Finding my place

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clematisI’ve been really enjoying my garden this year… I’ve had a lot more “oomph” to work in it and make it look good and produce good stuff!

Lovely to see the vegetables growing strong and healthy and I’m enjoying the shrubs and climbers that are looking very happy!

I was admiring my clematis earlier in the week… it took a few years before it felt “at home”, and earlier this year it was damaged by a couple of dogs digging around it! As I was looking athe beautiful flowers I was aware of a couple of Chaffinches creating a fuss on some of the trees and seats around the patio… I stood back and watched what was going on… and discovered, there was a wee nest in the clematis and the parents were anxious to get me out of the way so they could feed their chicks!

What a treat… so close to my windows I could see the coming and going from my living room!
Then I wandered round the house and discovered sparrows flying in and out of 3 of the 4 corners of the house!

Obviously the birds enjoy my home and have made it theirs.

I was reminded of the Scripture Psalm 84:1-4 

What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,
Always dreamed of a room in your house,
where I could sing for joy to God-alive!

3-4 Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies! King! God!
How blessed they are to live and sing there!

I was reminded how precious it is to find your place, to be near the heart of God and to dwell in His presence, in safety and security.

I thank God for His lesson to me from my own back door!