God always provides –
but sometimes He spoils His children as well. Like crazy. I’m one of those
people who really struggles with the cold; often in winter I’ll be swaddled in
four layers and still shivering. Last week the Lord sent me a wonderful
present: a soft white onesie. To quote Agnes, “IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE!”
It’s got some brown
spots; and a “tail”; and a hood with a beautifully detailed puppy face. I
looked so realistic in all my fluffy white-and-brown glory that my canine-crazy
sister almost squeezed me to death (like she hugs our real dog). I didn’t need
it. But I like to think God wanted to spoil me. He knew how much I’ll
appreciate this, come winter, so He provided for me. Sometimes I’m almost
embarrassed at all the blessings He chooses to shower me with. If we really try, we
can survive without cappuccinos and Lindt chocolate. And Tolkien and Pratchett
novels. And peasant blouses. And The A-team. And chai tea. And
Longfellow’s poems. And sunflowers. And Hans Zimmer mu…
In our society today,
most people are busy most of the time. I’m cool with that. What grates my
carrot, however, is when folk see busyness as a measure of your importance; when
they determine their worth – and that of others – based on what they do.
Or don’t. I’ve had more than one
quiet season this year: times of transition where I felt myself to be at a
crossroad. I was never bored, but I was certainly not sprinting from one
thrillingly important thing to another.
I went for walks with
the older of my sisters. I hung up the washing for my mom and took it down. I
went with my family to visit people in our congregation. I practised my music
and talked trash (or surprisingly deep stuff) with my youngest sister.
Sometimes the quiet
times are the hardest. One’s inner critic, as my friend puts it, becomes very
harsh. Am I doing enough? Does any of this matter? Do I really
For my birthday this
year, a dear friend of ours took me out for coffee. She told me how they moved
from a busy lif…
My dearest children, May I suggest that you
try to change your perspective? I’d love for you to take your eyes off
yourselves and turn them to Me instead. I see your hearts; I know of your
desire to seek Me and how hard you try. But you spend too much time analysing
your efforts. Raise your gaze to Me. So many of your problems will shrink down
to size if you do. My dear kids, you don’t
have to keep such a meticulous record of how many hours you’ve logged in prayer
or whether you’ve addressed each item on your list frequently enough. Please – chill.
I love it when you just sit on My lap and chat to Me. I love hearing your
voices – so tell Me everything, even if it doesn’t make sense; even if you
think it’s excruciatingly boring or insignificant. Tell Me about your aching
heart and deepest frustrations, and tell Me about your joy at the proteas in
bloom and the loerie you saw this morning. Don’t stress about
Bible study, either. I’m really not counting how many chapters you read each
Hello, Lord. I wanted
to . . . Well – if it doesn’t offend – I was thinking . . . uhm . . . Oh, blow this. You
know everything, so who am I trying to kid? Here we go. Sometimes, Lord – with
all respect – You feel far. I start praying, and it’s as if I’m talking to the
wall. “Thank You so much for the blessing of today and everything You spoiled
me with.” Blank silence. “I pray for Your Hand over this and that, and that You
will intervene in Situation ABC.” Blank silence continues. “And please, Lord,
heal H, and soften the heart of L.” Blank. “In Your precious Name I ask these
things. Amen.” Blank, blank, blank. It’s like every word I
say bounces off the ceiling and back into my tearstained face. So I get introspective,
Father. What unconfessed sin is there in my heart? Who have I not forgiven? Which
habits and desires do I need to get rid of? I do the necessary heart-cleaning,
and try again. Uhm. Blank. I decide to chuck my
to-pray-for-list and just glorify You. It works, in that it lifts m…
Lord, have You taken a good look lately at this world You made?
I see My world daily, child - every bit of it.
Have You taken a proper look at the people in it, then?
I certainly have.
So You've seen all the poor, Lord? Strings of them - so many with nothing. Wind and rain stream through the cracks in their homes. The cold stings through the holes in their clothes. Glass stabs the soles of their bare feet as an empty stomach screams to ears gone deaf from habit. Tummies swell; teeth fall out; scabies erupt because there is no immune system to fight back. Father, they break my heart. What shall we do with them?
Give them to Me.
Have You seen the broken and grieving, dear God? The abused children with big glassy eyes, bruised bodies and bruised hearts. The girls who've been raped: dignity in shreds, all hope and joy stolen along with their virginity. The victims of separation, illness, death . . . Too many to even try and name them all. Those broken hearts, God. And their spirits -…