Stumbling in – with a Smile and a half decent glass of Champagne

1 Jan

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That’s it!
We’re in!!
2014….

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For better, for worse, there’s nothing we can do about it… let’s stumble into it together, hand in hand and holding tight to the Saviour and Lover and Creator of each one of us.
After all he is the beginning and the end, and everything in between.
He knows all that we don’t yet know.
The good, the bad, the ugly; the triumphs and the sorrows.
So let’s stumble in, trusting that He has enough grace for us to face everything He has planned for us…and to be victorious in it all.
I, for one, am excited…
First stop: Australia, for two weeks holiday in the sun with one of my all-time besties…. Can it get any better!!?!

We think, quite possibly, not.

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Joy To The World – Immanuel is here

26 Dec

This means more and more to me the more I understand of who Jesus is. And for all my grumpiness over Christmas, I actually LOVE it once it’s here. It’s the build-up I loathe, but today has been deliberately free, delightfully slow, and I have enjoyed every moment, with joy in my heart and cheer on my face.
Inevitably, we had a couple of fractious kids to put up with, who had had little sleep the night before due to anticipation and excitement reaching unbearable proportions.
Still, the food and the mood were lovely and peaceful, and now that I have sat down at the end of it all with my evening tipple (mulled wine if you please) I can well and truly say that I am deeply blessed.
Happy birthday Jesus! Hope you enjoyed the party…

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FINALLY!!!!

21 Dec

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Tonight I am breathing a sigh of blessed relief.
This latest half term has felt like swimming through treacle but finally we can stop for a few weeks… School is over, baby!!!

Call me a Grinch if you want to – but opting out of Christmas gets more and more tempting as time goes on (…one year I will actually do it….) and if it wasn’t for three little boys’ eager anticipation, I would just as easily hide away for a month or three, with a plentiful stock of good books, tea-lights, art-supplies, coffee and mulled wine.
Ah, now, doesn’t that sound blissful….!!?!

I wonder if this time of year will ever get easier. The whole charade leaves me a little disillusioned, angry and exhausted. BUT.
Could it be that not having the option to “opt out” might actually be a Good Thing?
Because it forces me to dig deeper for meaning, for deeper revelation, for a closer encounter with the living God, Immanuel – and to look for the stuff that really matters, the hidden, secret, quiet stuff.
Just because I can’t hide away doesn’t mean I can’t choose what I will and will not allow to have influence over me and my family.

And that is precisely what I’m doing. I have spent a total of under 4 hours in the high street and done what little was left of it online. I am just not willing to take part in the zombiefied frenzy the world seems to think is an essential part of Christmas. Instead I am gunning for peace, rest, stillness – and defending the right to just ‘be’.

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We are 6 days away from “the big day” and lo and behold I am sitting in a onesie sipping tea and eating banana cake (yes, that one!); my kids have just broken up from school for two weeks, and I am planning to do as little as possible in that time, except watch crap Christmas TV, eat lovely food, and celebrate my best friend’s birthday by saying thank you quite a lot.

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Deeper, further… more fully

13 Dec

These words have hit a bulls eye in my soul today… Oh to fall more deeply, more fully in love with Him!!

How I love you, my darling, my Bride. You are beautiful and you are fragrant in your worship of me.

See how my heart longs for you and how my desire is for you. I am taking you deeper, further into my love and more fully into my heart.

Fall in love with me again! Set your gaze on me, look into my eyes and fall deeper, further and more fully into me – and I will expand and fill you… fuller and fuller.

I am calling you deeper: Come, my beloved one! Answer the cry of my heart and come to me.

Song of Songs 3:4a
Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go…..

(Lion Bites for 13.12.13)

Some notes on Grace

6 Dec

Billy Graham’s grandson, Tullian Tchividjan, speaks on grace. His hope-filled words are phenomenally powerful and resonate deeply with my feelings on church and ‘Christianity’ today.
Have a read…

If we’re not careful we can give people the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifice we make for Jesus rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us; our performance for him rather than his performance for us; our obedience for him rather than his obedience for us. – 

Furthermore, it seems that the good news of God’s grace has been tragically hijacked by an oppressive religious moralism that is all about rules, rules, and more rules;

Christianity is perceived as being a vehicle for good behavior and clean living and the judgments that result from them rather than the only recourse for those who have failed over and over again. But if anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good. 

Eugene Peterson has wisely said that “discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own.” The way many of us think about sanctification is, well, not very sanctified. In fact, it’s terribly narcissistic. We spend too much time thinking about how we’re doing, if we’re growing, whether we’re doing it right or not. We spend too much time pondering our spiritual failures and brooding over our spiritual successes. 

Preoccupation with our performance over Christ’s performance for us actually hinders spiritual growth because it makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective—the exact opposite of how the Bible describes what it means to be sanctified. Sanctification is forgetting about yourself.

As J. C. Kromsigt said, “The good seed cannot flourish when it is repeatedly dug up for the purpose of examining its growth.” Unless we go to the Bible to see Jesus and his work for us, even our devout Bible reading can become fuel for our own self-improvement plans, the place we go for the help we need to “conquer today’s challenges and take control of our lives.” 

The Bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with his rescue; our sin with his salvation; our failure with his favor; our guilt with his grace; our badness with his goodness.
the Bible is not first a recipe book for Christian living, but a revelation book of Jesus who is the answer to our unchristian living. 

Grace is thickly counter-intuitive. It feels risky and unfair. It turns everything that makes sense to us upside-down. It’s not rational. It offends our deepest sense of justice and rightness. It wrestles control out of our hands and destroys our safe, conditional world.

These are the main points I picked out from this valuable article – I was lazy and just literally ‘copied and pasted’ but I’m not arrogant or pretentious enough to think I could have put it any better myself.

You can read the whole interview here.

RIP Madiba

5 Dec

What a man, what a nation; I am reminded once again how much I love it and how I long to go back…!

Nelson Mandela, you are forever a legend.

That’s it.

A Snuggly Moment

29 Nov

If you’re not a dog-lover, you need to have a rethink – and meet this one.
I wasn’t really one either, and grew up around cats. I love cats, but they are fickle, selfish little shits.
Dogs – they love you. Unconditionally.
And Max, well he’s special: he doesn’t smell (much. Well his breath stinks. It’s rancid) He doesn’t slobber (now THAT is genuinely true), hardly ever trumps, and does as he’s told ALL.THE.TIME.

Seriously, I am so smitten.
Can you tell…..??

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Soppy lil bugger.

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