Monthly Archives: June 2015

Every Silver Lining has a Cloud

silver lining

I first started thinking about it when someone asked me how my weekend was.   I said it was great.   But looking back, there were moments when I was in tears.   There were moments when I missed my husband who was not with me.   Overall, however, it was a great weekend.

As I considered memorable events and occasions, I realised that most of them contained an element of sadness or stress or even pain.

The days when my children were born were some of the high points of my life.   Yet without doubt there were moments of pain, fear, exhaustion and even irritability.   Yet over all – absolutely awesome and momentous.

When I took a group of Girl Guides to an international camp in Canada, it started badly.   Canadian Guiders had kindly agreed to share tents with us.   My assistant and I were separated from each other and from our girls who were put under the care of Canadian Guiders.   There were hundreds of dome tents pitched on a large field for the adults.   The lady I was sharing with was not there when I arrived so I put my stuff in the tent and went off to do the things we needed to do.   At about 9.30 we were finished and it was about time to think about bed.   I couldn’t find the tent where I was supposed to be.   I wandered round and round looking for landmarks.   By now it was really late and almost everybody was already tucked up in bed and sleeping.. I can’t remember how I found the tent.   I only remember sitting outside the ladies toilet crying.

That was not the only stressful event of the camp.   Three people were killed on a light airplane trip and my assistant and I helped by taking charge of the Guides who had been in the care of one of them.   Later during the camp a tornado hit and we all had to be evacuated to a local church hall.   Arrangements were made with a local laundry to dry all the wet sleeping bags.

However, the girls remember the camp as a happy and exciting memory.

 Canada camp2

 

I can think of other occasions – the training weekend where I felt I just couldn’t cope with the task I was given but by the end of the weekend I had done it;  – the Otter Trail where I was so sick and miserable and tired that I felt like giving up but didn’t.   It seems to me that the most worthwhile things reflect a true balance of life.  Life is not only about the silver linings, awesome though they may be. It is about the real stuff – the struggle, the pain, the disappointments.   If we only had silver linings we would not recognise them.   We need the clouds too.   If you are in the middle of a dark cloud remember the words of King Solomon “This too will pass…” and God is with us even and perhaps especially, in the dark clouds.

 

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Lace

I had the privilege on Saturday to attend an introduction to lace making organised by our church’s women’s ministry group. Apparently, one of the definitions of lace is “a bunch of holes surrounded by a thread!” We got to try out making bobbin lace using 8 bobbins and threads. My attempt was indifferent but some of the other ladies made some very respectable lace fishes.

One thing that struck me, however, was the number of bobbins and threads involved in even quite a narrow piece of lace.

lace

Imagine a wide piece of lace! Lace makers do it and manipulate hundreds of different threads. They work according to a pattern and what seems to the casual observer like a tangle, is all part of the pattern.

lace2

Another thing that struck me was how long it takes to make lace. It requires patience and love. Some pieces take years.

We are like the threads in God’s great lace pattern. Individually we are nothing but a thread but put us over and under other threads and the pattern is created. We can’t see the pattern but the Lord is the Grand Designer. He know exactly what He is doing. No relationship or interaction of ours is not used as part of the pattern – even when we mess up. When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, they sinned, big time. However, God used it for good. God uses even our mistakes and our rebellion. However, it takes time. Joseph was in prison for about 20 years.

The wisest thing for a bobbin to do is just be passive until the Master directs our next interaction. If a bobbin were suddenly to say “I see the pattern, I am going to go ahead on my own,” you can be sure that things will not go well.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom8:28 ESV

Prayer

Lord, please help me to trust you even when things around me look like a tangled mess. Help me to remember that you have a plan and a pattern and “you make all things beautiful in your time” Amen

Grey Hair

The Day said,

“It is now 6pm, My life is nearly over. My best hours are gone and my energy fades. My light is feeble. No longer can I power a photocell. No longer can I heat water. I am no longer of any use. Nobody can read by my light. I am old and tired and useless to God and Man. My past has polluted my air – the dust of the hours gone. There are clouds too – memories of the tears I have cried.

And God said,

“You are the day that I have made. People rejoice and are glad in you. Did you give light in the womb before the dawn of your birth? Stop feeling sorry for yourself!  You are entering a new stage of your life. It is part of My plan. The dust and the clouds which are causing you pain will demonstrate My glory. Now is the time when families gather together for a meal and share love. Now is the time for romantic walks, for cozy fires, for cappuccinos. Soon it will be time for rest.

You are eternal. You will always exist. The things that happened in your life -in the dark hours as well as in the light ones – will be forever in history and cannot be undone.

Meanwhile, enjoy the stage you are at. It is called Sunset!

sunset-478396_1280

Listen to me,…..You whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Is46:4 NIV)

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life. (Prov 16:31 NLT)

Prayer   Father, forgive me when I feel sorry for myself because I can no longer do the things I used to be able to. Please help me to trust you in this stage of life, to show your glory and to share your love. Amen.

It all depends on your point of view

For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face:   Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as I also am known. (1 Cor 13:12 KJV)

 

I was sitting in my chair reading when I happened to glance at my netbook screen.    My computer is set to scroll through my pictures when it is bored.   I saw a picture that I didn’t recognise.   It appeared to be black and white.   What looked like a black rubbish bag tied at the neck seemed to dominate the picture.   From the size of the windows, it appeared to reach more than half way to the ceiling.   I recognised the window frames as being our home.

point of view 1

Intrigued, I got up to look at it more closely and I couldn’t believe what I saw.   It was actually a photo taken of our Easter table – All white and gold.

Point of view 2

I understood better what “point of view means”.   It means what I see from where I am standing.

Bad things happen to all of us.   Sometimes what seemed like the end of the world at the time, turned out to be God’s way of making something beautiful in our lives.  A few years ago we bought a property with our daughter and son-in-law. There was a one bed roomed cottage that my daughter would use as her art studio. The plan was to build a cottage for my husband and me in the front garden. We got plans, we had our team who would do it for us, we were all set. When we were refused permission to build, we were devastated.

We made a plan.   We added rooms to the existing cottage and built on a bigger art studio.   What we have now is better than the original plan.   In hindsight we can see what a blessing it was and how God used the situation.

For Discussion or Reflection

  1. Can you look back on any circumstances that seemed terrible at the time but now appear to have been God’s work?
  2. What circumstances in your life look like a bag of rubbish from your point of view? How do you think God sees them? How will they look in retrospect, for example in five year’s time?

Father God, please help me to trust you when the world looks dark. I know that you can see the whole picture. Amen.

My Mission Statement

A few months ago I revised my mission statement.  I originally wrote it  in January 2000 after reading Stephen Covey’s Book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

“Acknowledging that I am a special and unique creation of God, made with purpose and endowed with many special gifts, my mission is to realize my full potential and to use my gifts for the enabling and building up of others.

My most important “Other” is my husband. With him I will build up a strong, loving relationship, striving to strengthen and encourage him and to make him supremely happy. We will have fun together and make happy memories, remembering that we will not always be together.

My children will also not be with me for long. I will enjoy them, delighting in the unique characters God has given them, building strong relationships and happy memories, and inspiring them to reach their full potential.

Friends are important to me. I regard people as more important than things or tasks. Listening is more important than talking. When I do talk, may it be more uplifting than tearing down. I shall value my friends and work towards inspiring and enabling them.

I believe words are powerful.  With my words, spoken and written, I shall endeavour to bring encouragement, support and strength to those I encounter, like water quietly seeping into the earth and refreshing flowers.  This applies to my blogs, my books, letters, e mails and even comments on the internet.

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I believe in and admire truth, honour, courage, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, patience and self control and will do my best to incorporate them into my life. However, the overriding principle must be love.

I have invited Jesus Christ into my life. He is my final authority, Lord and guide. The bible is my handbook on right living.

I realize that other people will not have my mission, nor my values, but I accept that they, too, are created by God for a purpose.”