Monday, 20 October 2014

When Love takes you places you never expected

Love quote
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 (VOICE)

Sun fell in shafts on the square as Xylon and I propped our feet on our backpacks. Opposite in a row of old women sat smoothing knee-length skirts over their knees and speaking rapidly in Spanish.

Xylon pointed, and I turned to see an auburn haired woman clutching the hand of a blonde toddler heading towards us. We had never met Susannah but we guessed this must be her. Pulling our bags behind her we walked over to introduce ourselves.

Susannah took us back to her apartment and started showing us around the space we would be living for a week. Her English was close to perfect so I asked her to share her story.

Susannah told us of a childhood in New York, of growing up Spanish in the US and how she returned to Spain as an adult and fell in love with a man from a small Spanish town. She laughed softly as she said, 
"Love takes you places you never expected to go." (tweet this)

Her words stuck in my head.

I thought about how Jesus is God and God is Love. 

And how sometimes having a relationship with God means going places I never expected and loving people I thought I never could. 

I thought about all the places Love goes that I never expected: 
How Love forgets every wrong. 
How Love opens his arms and pulls me towards him no matter how dark my thoughts, heart or actions.
How Love never fails. 

I thought about our marriage: how I never expected love to take us through days of radiation, months in hospital and years of chemo. 

I thought about Jesus and how his love for me took him to some hard places. I wondered if he ever expected his love for me to take him to Calvary, to a cross, to a grave, to coming back from the dead. 

I wondered if Jesus knew Love would have him offering life to prostitutes, thieves, murderers. (tweet this)

Did Jesus expect that a woman would wash his feet with her hair and a bottle of the world’s most expensive shampoo out of love?

I thought about the people I know who have left family, country, jobs, just because Love calls them to live a different story. 

And I thought about how, as I let God show me how to love, he leads to me people, places and ideas I would never have expected. 

And I found a prayer stumbling from my lips, “Love, take me places I never expected to go.”

Ponder: What places, moments or people has God brought into your life out of love that you never expected? 

Pray: Love, take me places I never expected to go.

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In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): Gratisography.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck

Thursday, 16 October 2014

If you’re wondering if Jesus likes all of you (or how depression showed me he does)

Bible verse from Isaiah never alone
But I'll take the hand of those who don't know the way, who can't see where they're going. I'll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I'll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don't fall into the ditch. These are the things I'll be doing for them - sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute. Isaiah 42:16 (MSG)

I was 21, and standing in the dog food aisle, when I realised that I did not want to kill myself anymore. 

I remember the moment clearly; I can even picture the bag of dog food I was examining when I realised that I did not want to die, that I wanted to take another shot at life. 

For the first time in almost a year, I wanted to breathe, to live, and to stop wishing cars would run me over when I walked to University. 

When I was growing up – blowing bubbles, climbing jungle gyms and jumping on trampolines – I never imagined at 21 I would be unravelling like the hem of my trouser leg and needing to crawl home for some love and repair and hope. 

I had walked away from the life I had dreamt of living and I did not know what to do next, or who I was, or what life meant. 

Unsure of who I was, and with depression lingering, I knew only one thing: Jesus was with me and he liked me. {tweet this}

Even today there are times when I know nothing else but this one thing. I do not understand it. And I wrestle and grapple and argue about it constantly with myself, with others, and with Jesus. 

Jesus liked all of me. He liked the dark places I wished to flee, and the shadows where I dwelt, and the light that reminded me of who I used to be. Jesus stayed with me, not out of pity, but out of love.

I do not know how Jesus happened to be there, and I do not know how he found me, all I know is that he was there. 

When I was stumbling through my life, when I was wandering in darkness, Jesus was with me, and he liked me, every bit as much as the little girl who laughed on the swing.

To be honest, sometimes it felt like I was alone, like I was walking with my hands out along a foggy road but then the mist would clear and I’d catch a glimpse of the One who walked with me.  

I’d hold that picture in my mind and head towards it reminding myself of the promise in Isaiah 42:16: 
I'll take the hand of those who don't know the way, who can't see where they're going. I'll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I'll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don't fall into the ditch. These are the things I'll be doing for them - sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.
Sometimes my life still makes no sense to me, often I feel myself battling the darkness, squinting for a glimpse of the One I know will take my hand before I fall, the One I know will stick with me through the darkest days

Ponder: Do you think that Jesus likes you on best days? What about on the worst ones?

Prayer: Lord, take my hand when I can’t see where I’m going. 

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{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): unsplash.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck
Monday, 13 October 2014

When you long for peace

Micah 5:5 bible verse
 He will be our peace. When the Assyrians invade us, set foot inside our strong palaces, We will raise up more than enough to conquer them—seven shepherds and eight rulers of men. Micah 5:5 (VOICE)

I don't think I realised as a child how hard life can be: how many problems, troubles and disasters can come a person’s way. 

Sometimes, like the last week as I watched my brother and sister-in-law come and go from NICU, the reality of the brokenness, so many of us live in everyday, hit me.

Hospitals are a hard place to run from the realities of life, a hard place to hide from death.

But in all this I've been reminded of a promise hidden in Micah 5:5, He will be our peace.

Jesus who the Angels about who the angels sang at his birth: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Jesus will hold me, comfort me and quiet me with his love when the troubles of this life seem too heavy. (tweet this)

When a cancer diagnosis comes.
Jesus will be my peace.

When a child is born with a life of challenges.
Jesus will be my peace.

When a loved one breathes their last. 
Jesus will be my peace.

When I leave homes and move towns.
Jesus will be my peace.

When colleagues speak words that bruise me.
Jesus will be my peace.

When friends seem more distant than if they lived in another town. 
Jesus will be my peace.

When we hear of wars and terror.
Jesus will be my peace.

When fear of the future clutters my soul.
Jesus will be my peace. (tweet this)

Ponder: What areas of your life do you need Jesus to come and be your peace? 

Pray: Jesus, come and be my peace. 

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You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking here. I’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.

{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): unsplash.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck