Reach out

imageI enjoy looking back on the memories Facebook reminds me of. A few weeks ago it read of a grey, wet Monday when I had posted “Rain, rain if you are not willing to go Spain, I’m more than happy to go in your place“. One week later we were able to book flights to Spain after the Father surprised us with radical generosity.

As I read these memories, I felt a wee nudge to be more expectant of the impossible becoming possible.

I never dreamt that in a few days I would find out a ticket had been booked for me to go skiing with my nephews and niece and I would be flying off France a week later!!

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” (Ephesians 3:20 MSG)

Unfortunately, however, my very first attempts at skiing were more of a nightmare! My problem wasn’t skiing, it was stopping and staying upright!! Ecclesiastes 4:10 seems so appropriate …

“.. pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

Everywhere I looked I was reminded of the verse “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV)

God IS our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 NIV) but Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 also reminds us we need to reach out to each other for help too.

Two are better than one, … If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV)

I did feel embarrassed I could not get up in my own strength and had to keep asking for help but it was a much better alternative than being abandoned in the snow!

Maybe you feel a bit abandoned at the minute. You too are struggling to stay upright or keep your balance. Life feels way out of your control. You feel like you keep falling down again and again.

We always need to reach out to God at these times.

There are seasons when “He makes me lie down in green pastures“, NOT snowy hills (Psalm 23:2) but there are also times when we need to get back up on our feet and admit that we need help to do so.

This is NOT weakness or defeat. It is survival. It is LIFE. If I had refused help and stayed stuck on that mountain, I would not have survived.

Today you can choose to stay stuck in what’s keeping you down – false pride, comparison, shame, guilt, failure, all lies of the enemy OR you can be honest and reach out in your vulnerability and ask someone you trust for help.

Allow them to reach out to you and pull you back to your feet, ready to move forward, no longer stuck in the same place, unable to move.

Two are better than one, … If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV

Or maybe it’s your turn to reach out your hand to offer to help the other up.

Father, may we be sensitive to those who need someone to help them up. May we not be so focused on our journey, that we are oblivious to others along the way. May we be compassionate and sensitive not critical or aloof.

We all need to reach out to each other, both to help and be helped.

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Digging yourself into a hole?

imageLast Wednesday, I enjoyed a sunny, blue sky (!!) walk with our dog, Tess, at the beach. I wasn’t the only dog owner to take advantage of the very pleasant change from grey, rainy skies. Dogs were chasing waves and balls and owners were enjoying brisk walks.

Apart from one lady who stood watching while her dog tried to dig its way to Australia!!! She was still standing in the same place when we came back but her dog was by then on its second hole!

Usually a walk on the beach clears my head, unclutters my heart and brings me into a “spacious place (Psalm 18:19) but not last Wednesday. My head and heart felt truly cluttered with things that had already interrupted my morning space and things I knew the day had yet to bring.

I’ve mentioned this quote before. For me, it’s one that ‘does what it says on the tin’!!

“Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the fingertips” (Dawson Trotman).

I’ve found over and over again that when I write things out on paper, it writes them OUT of my head and heart too.

I’m so thankful that pouring my heart out before Him on paper allows me to de-clutter all the thoughts that are taking up too much space in my mind and allows Him to bring me into a spacious place again.

As I took time to do this last week, I felt Him remind me of the dog on the beach.

In His gentleness, He helped me see that sometimes I am the one frantically digging holes, when I keep going over the same old things over and over again. Thoughts, worries, hassles, problems, failures, things I’ve done or not done, things people have said or not said, unmet or unrealistic expectations. The list seems endless. So much choice to be frantic about.

He showed me how often I allowed my thoughts to dig me into a hole.

And no matter how hard I try to dig my way out, the hole just gets deeper and deeper and even deeper.

He reminded me of the dog’s owner standing patiently, waiting and watching this wee dog who is obsessively oblivious to everything except digging, digging, digging.

When we are so focused on our own thoughts, we too can become dangerously obsessed with them and become totally oblivious to the One who is always beside us, watching over us, patiently waiting for us to STOP giving our attention and energy to something so futile and destructive.

No matter what is causing us to frantically dig ourselves into a hole, HE is always there beside us, watching over us, patiently waiting for us .. .

To lift our eyes off our own efforts and lift them up to see His eyes.

… To see the situation through His eyes of love and grace; mercy and forgiveness; hope and help.

… To reach out for His hand, outstretched to give us a helping hand out of the hole we have got ourselves in.

… To know that only He can take away the things we’ve been desperately trying to bury.

So the next time you feel like reaching for the shovel, pick up the pen and write it all OUT. Let the words on the page disentangle the thoughts in your head and the knots in your heart.

Instead of making a hole, allow Him to make you WHOLE again.

Simply BE

imageToday is brought to you by the letters B and E.

BE

And on the Sesame Street theme, let’s keep it simple.

SIMPLY BE

The verb ‘to be’ seems so simple. We use it so often everyday: I’m hungry! Are you thirsty? He is here. We are ready.

But as a Spanish student, the verb ‘to be’ seemed far from simple. Not only is it totally irregular but there are two of them and the difficulty lies in knowing which one to use when.

Simply put one is for temporary states and conditions eg I am hungry (implying that I won’t be after I eat something) or He is good (that is just until he does something wrong!). The other is for permanent or inherent characteristics eg I am His daughter (that can never change) or I’m from Northern Ireland (even if I lived in Spain [wishful thinking on a stormy day like this], I will always be from NI).

But what if some of these temporary states became more permanent in our lives and described the inherent qualities we’ve inherited from our Heavenly Father and our permanent status as children of the Kingdom.

I’ve been noticing how much He’s been drawing my attention to these two little letters: BE.

So often they can signify a command: BE quiet, BE good, BE on time.

But the Lord uses them to extend an invitation to each of us.

BE STILL … and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

BE HEALED … (Matthew 8:3 NLT)

BE FREE … “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV)

BE BLESSED … “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” (Jeremiah 17:7 NIV)

BE A BLESSING … “I will bless you; … and you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2 NIV)

BE FRUITFUL … (Genesis 1:22; 9:1; 35:11)

BE CONFIDENT … “For the Lord shall be your confidence” (Proverbs 3:26a AMP)

BE STRONG … “Be strong and very courageous … Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9 NIV)

BE-LIEVE … “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22 NIV)

BE-LOVED … “I am my beloved’s” (Song of Solomon 6:3a NIV)

BE-AUTIFUL … “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord” (Isaiah 62:3a ESV)

Maybe today He’s simply inviting you to put these last three together BELIEVE you are BELOVED and BEAUTIFUL.

How will you choose to reply to His invitations? YES or NO?

Whatever He is inviting you to be, He says “simply BE with ME“.

Father, in reply, we choose to BE all that you have for us.