Monthly Archives: April 2017

Is it now time to heal? 

Ephesians 2:8-9 

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

I’ve been tied up in all sorts of convoluted knots. Knots that are tied so tightly they seem impossible to untie… it’s taken a lot to coax these knots out and unloosen them, the string is thin and the knots are as tight as they can be. 

 bit by bit the knots are loosening but wrong thinking is ingrained and hard to change. 

A few weeks ago with my job, I went to see quite a feisty old lady in her nineties. As we casually talked about Easter she suddenly became animated and threw her arms in the air. As she was gesticulating she demanded:

” if God the father loved his son, why on earth did he abuse him in such a way?”

This was such an amazing gift which I wholeheartedly accepted. We talked about sin and the need of a perfect sacrifice. We talked about God’s overwhelming love in sending his son and how Jesus willingly obeyed his father’s will. As I got her into bed, I asked her if she wanted to pray. Her prayer was:

“Lord, teach me the things that I just don’t understand.”

As I think about my situation and the knots that I’ve got into which seem impossible to untie, I have prayed the same prayer. Why did God allow my husband’s sin? Why such hurt to the church? Why did he allow such a catastrophic thing to happen when my prayer was that we would be above reproach? 

These are questions I can’t answer but the prayer that Doris prayed says it all. But rather than asking God to teach me all that I don’t understand, my prayer is:

“Lord, help me to accept all that I don’t understand. Help me to accept all the things that up till now I haven’t wanted to accept.  It seems a disaster to me, it seems like nothing good will come out of it. I feel hurt that I prayed to be above reproach and you have given me the opposite of what I prayed for…”

And there it is…. the knot that is tied so tightly. The knot that hasn’t yet been confronted. 

I have been hurt and angry. I prayed for so many years for something that I perceived was right and good. I prayed that we would leave our church family rightly. That we would always be welcome to go back. Never barred. It seems that God has dealt with me harshly; it seems unkind that God ignored my heartfelt plea. I prayed that we would never sin and disgrace Christ in the church in which we served. But we have. 

All I can pray is: 

” Lord, help me to accept what I don’t understand!”

This morning I found a dead bee by our back door. I got a spoon mixed with sugar and water and pushed the bee onto it. To my delight I saw it move and drink the liquid. It revived and flew off. 

This is what I need today. I’ve been so overwhelmed and beaten down. I need the sweet nectar of grace to revive my soul. 

I’m thankful that God has revealed this to me today. It’s painful to confront, but maybe now, like that little bee, God can begin to heal me in a way he never could when I was fighting him.

I didn’t want this situation to happen, but it has. God is bigger than our mess and I ask God for healing  as I go forward, and to help me accept the things that I will never understand.

I pray that with this prayer, healing and restoration will come. 

It’s time to start living. By God’s amazing kindness we haven’t blown it, but I do need to accept the rich gift  of grace and forgiveness that has been given us through Jesus. 


Grieving with hope 

Grief is so unpredictable. It strikes when we least expect it. A thought, a reminder, or news through the grapevine can start a rollercoaster ride, full of overwhelming emotions that are difficult to handle. Our grief marches on. I’m not sure when it will end. It catches us out and knocks us over. 

I’ve been knocked over this weekend. Meeting with friends and hearing news of my past life. I felt as though I was drowning and longed for what has gone. Ups and downs, peaks and troughs. 

It takes many years to build relationships. Longer to really know people and be understood. It’s difficult to feel part of a new community, hard to infiltrate and get past the superficial. Time has gone by, yet I’m still not known and understood by many. 

Grief is hard. It isn’t predictable and catches us out. As my mind wanders, I think about the fellowship that I’ve been plucked from. I still feel displaced, isolated, lonely and unknown. As I stand in church, sometimes my grief is so raw I can’t sing. I stand rigid with tears rolling down my cheeks. Such a strange and dreadful thing that’s happened. I’m so grateful that despite my sorrow I have many days  which are  full of hope and joy which fill me with thankfulness. 

There will never come a time when thoughts of the past won’t bring sadness, but by God’s grace, acceptance will eventually be given. One day we pray that dreadful sin will be turned around to help others, and as we look back we will thank God for the growing that went on in the wilderness. No experience is wasted and our pain keeps us near to our saviour. 

Im learning that grief doesn’t  have a timeline and can never be managed. We learn to live with the sadness caused and look to our Heavenly Father to help us all through. 

When our identity is dependant on our goodness. 

It’s been a few days since I commited my thoughts about shame onto paper. Since then I’ve teased it through with my husband and I’ve grudgingly had to acknowledge that in the medley of emotions that wrap up this whole shame issue, pride is in there. It’s a bit like bindweed, weaving its way through hurt and sorrow, grief and displacement. There are so many emotions that are still so raw that it’s hard to really see it all clearly. But the evidence is overwhelming and I stand condemned. The problem I’m now presented with is knowledge. Ignorance is bliss. If I’m not realising my folly, then I can continue in it. Once it’s recognised and named, It has to be dealt with.

So where’s the pride? How is it manifested? It’s painful for me to admit, but here goes:

  • I’ve had a hard time accepting this unacceptable sin. I have balked at it, and it’s hurt me to think of how people are now viewing us.
  • The emotions I’ve been feeling hinges on our failure and not Christ’s forgiveness.
  • My self worth and identity are tied up in our performance and not Christ’s righteousness.

So what’s the answer?

The cross yet again.

Sin is so subtle and deceitful. I didn’t mean to be full of pride, but in all of this failure it was my default position and I have been in bondage over it. In order to recover and heal, I need to cut out the rottenness that’s causing me to be sick. It’s time for me to recover, to be well and live my life in a new way. The shame and pride have to go, and as I look up, I ask God for his grace as I acknowledge my guilt before him.

It’s a battle that continues to rage. But in the debilitating knowledge of revealed sin, confession will always bring healing. There is no sin that’s outside God’s remit. There is always life and healing for those who look up.

But as with all habits that are ingrained and hard to budge, I pray for much grace to change, and thank God that his bank of grace is never exhausted and that we never have a limit on how much we can spend.

I pray that I will no longer be kept in bondage. This whole journey has been excruciating. God has used this whole experience to show me my own failings and they just keep on coming.

I look forward to heaven, no more sin, pride will have gone and replaced by real humility. God is kind when he exposes our sin. It’s like a knife wound but when we cut out the rotten and the gangrenous, we are saved from death. We must be grateful for such radical life saving treatment.

I thank God for his patience today. I pray for the humility to really accept  my situation, and not be overwhelmed by shame. I pray for help as I go forward, that God will help me live under grace and not under law, so that I will  experience freedom that only grace can give.

Our debt has been paid, the price was costly and we now owe nothing. I pray that I will have the humility to fully accept the huge generosity of forgiveness, and no longer live as though I have a debt that I can’t pay.  Our identity can never be wrapped up in our own performance, when it does, disaster is looming. 

James 4:6

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Confronting the issue! 

When the news broke and everything fell apart, I went into panic mode and wanted everything mended. I wanted everything to be back as it was. As a pastor’s wife, our role wasn’t to cause hurt and  damage, but to lead in love and come alongside the hurting. Having the knowledge that my husband had caused the hurt suffocated me. 

So we went from being “the helpers” to “the hurters”,  A terrible title  that I never wanted  to acknowledge. I balked at the hurt caused and I balked at the shame. 

It felt like the sin commited was so bad that we would never be accepted again. People’s  opinions mattered more than they should have done, and I became paralysed by what people thought of us. The shame has paralysed me from the beginning, I have been aware of it, I’ve talked about it, but up till now I’ve not dealt with it. 

My biggest fear was not God. Before God I knew we were forgiven, loved and accepted, I knew his kindness and the hugeness of his mercy. His Kindness knows no bounds,  and grace is the most healing and beautiful word.  

My fear was of man. I craved acceptance from those we knew. Silence is always misconstrued and it drove me into a pit. If I work this through to its logical conclusion, I’m saying that Christ is not enough. 

  This has been a long journey for me, and I have had to face many hard things. No doubt I will continue to struggle with shame in the  months to come, but I pray that God  helps me to see that validation from him is enough. 

In my wrong thinking, God is patient and kind. He relentlessly continues his work of grace to gently expose our wrong thinking and bad responses. If we are his, he will show us the right way forward. My wrong responses seem ingrained and stuck fast; I have been so overwhelmed with shame that I was unwilling to accept the gift of grace that would free me. I thought  if I accepted it and moved on, God would think that I took this situation lightly, and I had a need to show him how sorry we were. But it has kept me in bondage and made me miserable.

As our lives continue, I am asking God for his help as I ditch the shame  and replace it with delight in the husband He has given me. It’s not for me to understand why God allowed his sin, but this is what I know: God has forgiven and buries our shame. 

As we live with brokenness, we will hold on tightly to one another as we run the race. We pray that we will never take our eyes from the finishing line.  God has been kind to us and will continue to help and love us in the years to come. With God on our side we have nothing to fear. Man is entitled to his opinion, and in the eyes of others we may always be looked down on, but never by God. On that last day this struggle will seem futile. God’s opinion will be the only one we care about. 

Jesus has taken our shame. God has laid it on his precious son. He paid such a huge price for our sin I dare not go back to the cross anymore to pick it up again even though the urge at times will be great. I pray that this will be the beginning of really leaving it behind. I no longer need to feel shame – Jesus has taken it and it’s gone. I am Praying for ongoing help and grace as I leave the shame at the cross. I pray that it will be left where it belongs and that I won’t be tempted to pick it up again.

Flowers have grown where the rubbish once was. Sin has been comitted, but grace will continue to cover it. New shoots are appearing and bit by bit the rubbish heap will become a sea of colour. Satan wants to destroy, but God in love only ever builds up. We have a great and wonderful God. His kindness never ever runs out.