Five-Minute Friday: Tree

This picture shows the tree I can see from my kitchen window. Though it has lost lots of leaves I can still see l lots of different shades of red and orange.
This picture shows the tree I can see from my kitchen window. Though it has lost lots of leaves I can still see l lots of different shades of red and orange.

As soon as I saw the word ‘tree’ I thought of two in particular. The first, the magnificent tree I can see from a window in my kitchen, resplendent in all the colours of autumn with just enough leaves left to show off. The other tree, the fig tree in Scripture, and of which I was reminded recently while reading Christina Schofield’s story, My Life and Lesser catastrophes, beginning with the motorcycle crash which shattered  Christina and Allen’s marriage, ministry and family as they had known it, and in its place, was trauma, uncertainty, hardship, and disability. One day, while Christina is reflecting on the caregiving challenge presented by her husband’s paralysis, God gently reminds her of the fig tree in Habakkuk 3: 17.

Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen

and no cattle in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will be joyful in God my Savior (My Life and Lesser Catastrophes, kindle edn. P 317).

Each of us, if we are Christians, regardless if we face horrendous circumstances, or perhaps especially if we do, still have the same requirements on us as others, for example to choose to find joy in God and what he has done for us, to be thankful for the gifts he has given us and to find our strength in Him rather concentrating on the hardships we face and then trying to fight on our own. If we do, we are sure to lose.

I found I had much in common with Christina and her husband. For instance, it is easy to become bogged down in the monotony of day to day life, especially when faced with significant disability, as it takes so much energy just to get through each day, leaving little inclination or energy for travel, life does not vary much, as it revolves around routine by necessity, and there may not be much, if any money left over from benefits (or disability pension) for distractions and luxuries once the extra costs of being disabled are met in part or whole. We do though, have the constancy and companionship of Jesus, and the strength that only comes from Him, which is exactly what we do need. In our lack, we have plenty. I am thankful to God for such a vivid reminder of these things. I am off now, to see how many different colours I can find in the other tree, the one out the kitchen window. Until next week…

N.B. This post was written for Five Minute Friday. Why not have a go yourself? I’d love to read it!

 

Five Minute Friday : Truth

These last few weeks especially, I’ve had to deal with an awful lot of truth: Companies you depend on let you down, equipment you rely on breaks irreparably too often for comfort, people you thought you could trust let you down, others you knew for a long time betray you or move on, illness takes its toll, so where once you could cope, you now feel you are hanging on by your fingertips. Migraines, pain, dehydration, fatigue; it all takes its toll, and suddenly you find yourself running… running to the only One who is big enough to take your burdens from you, and in time reshape and reuse them for good.

praying-hands-1427667-s
Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/gallery/jamesclk

Fleeing to the One who is Truth has brought comfort and rest – ten straight hours of it in one 24 period. Books of morning prayers, a devotional on pain, daily devotional notes of various kinds and other Godly books have allowed Truth to seep into my soul, and to know the One who is Truth is helping me through days of illness, appointments and fatigue in ways I thought I could never do… Truth is, I know One who will never leave or forsake me, and who has not allowed me to drown in the water.

If you are struggling today, seek out the Truth, the only One who can help. The website www.lookingforGod.com is a good place to start.

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This post was written for Five Minute Friday. Do check out the ink and have a go yourself, I’d love to read it. Comment below with your link!

Grace: Kindness of God to me, kindness to myself, and extending the same to all I meet

Today’s Five-Minute Friday Post:

Grace is what allows me to function in the midst of my struggles, and somehow attempt to glorify God in the midst of it all. Continued, unmerited favour I don’t deserve. In the words of one of my favourite hymns “Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow, all I have needed, thy hand hath provided, blessings all mine, and ten thousand beside.” I’ve struggled to remember this recently, as I’ve had a situation to deal with that anyone would find hard, and it may continue for some time to come. This is amongst the daily struggles of life with carers, wheelchairs, general life things everyone deals with, alongside ill health, significant disability, chronic pain, and fatigue.

Recently, I have had to learn to be kinder to myself too, to give myself the same grace I extend to others. To rest when I need to, do the things I can in the times I am awake, rather than struggling to do a half-hearted job while falling asleep, though there are times when this is necessary. I am trying to learn when to speak up to change things, to make my life easier, rather than burying my head in the sand, and when I should stay quiet, and also learning to lean on my God more and more, who has promised his grace is sufficient for me. My witness is greater through pain and struggle than an able-bodied life, as the likes of Joni Earekson Tada, or my friend Stacy Williams would say. Sometimes this is hard to reconcile, though I am working on it one day at a time, while trying to accept I have made major mistakes in my witness, and have a God who forgives, comforts, strengthens and provides, so I can learn to extend these things to others, hopefully pointing them to God in the process.

Resources:

Joni Eareckson Tada (http://www.joniandfriends.org)

Stacy Williams: 21 days to finding purpose in pain

Five Minute Friday : Better Together.

I never used to like ‘me time’. I used to crave the company of others and hate spending so much time on my own. I have to say that these days the opposite can often be true. Perhaps the right balance is somewhere in the middle though. Together is Good. Together is to be treasured, worked on, and savoured. I have a friend I love to bits who I meet up with a couple of times a month. We have lunch, and sometimes, followed by hot chocolate. Depends how much time we have, or what mood her little boy is in, as these days, he is part of things too. A lot of my together time happens in my flat, at church, or even online. Scripture says ‘not to give up meeting TOGETHER as some are in the habit of doing’. Truth is we need each other. We were never meant to function alone, at least not all the time. Solitude is good, especially time along with our heavenly Father, and time to rest, recuperate, and repair our depleted energies. We were made for interdependence on each other though. I am reminded of this several times a day, because I need help from other for a lot of the basics of life.

If we are Christians though, our dependence is on God first, not on our own strength alone. We were made for fellowship, and community with each other. To give each other the comfort we have known God give us. These days, I often seek support and give support online. I have written before about friends I really value who I am unlikely to meet in person until heaven. There are others that for health reasons I most over talk to via technology. I do not often have the energy to meet up, but I do know my friends are there, and can keep tabs on how they are doing. I mussed Church last Sunday as I had not slept well at all overnight and felt awful, though texts appeared from three or four close friends, and the same with Facebook messages with another one or two. I know they noticed I was absent, which is important. We each long to be noticed, by this I knew they cared and I knew they were there for me if I needed them. Even short phone calls can have the same effect. Together is healthy, and together is good. Together with God, and together with each other. Stronger together, weaker apart.

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This post is for Five-minute Friday. Why not have a go yourself? I’d love to read it!

Five minute Friday: Laundry

I wrote this short post yesterday for ‘Five-Minute Friday‘, but forgot to post it, so here it is!

I am someone who has rather a lot of laundry. I’ve been without my ‘big wheelchair’, and so been so tired from half-baked attempts to get around other ways, I have had a bag accident once a day where I’ve had to change half or all clothes and put them in the washing machine. Yuck. They’re not pleasant and involve lots of effort to sort, either by me or others, depending what’s happened.

clothes pegs on a washing line
clothes pegs on a washing line

But then there is that other kind of ‘dirty laundry’ – those things we would not wish others to know, and if they do, then it is embarrassing and extremely unpleasant to face the consequences, and it may be something which hurts others, by it a rumour which gets out, an affair gets discovered, or an argument between an (ex) couple on social networks such as twitter or Facebook. Any of those things, or countless other examples could be called ‘airing our/their dirty laundry in public.

What a stinky, unsavoury mess, right. The name for examples like that is sin. The only One who can wash our dirty laundry clean is the Lord Jesus. His blood washes us clean, giving us brand new, shining white garments to wear. Things have happened recently which have made me acutely aware of my own shortcomings, because I let my standards slip badly. I am so grateful to Jesus who gives me something I don’t deserve – his unmerited favour, a good gift called Grace (a bit like getting ice-cream even though we’ve been naughty, instead of what we do deserve – punishment. I can never fully grasp what Jesus did for me, and continues to do for me, but what I do grasp, I am extremely grateful I can give up my dirty laundry and be washed clean – so can you!

Five minute Friday: Ordinary

When I think of Ordinary, some other words come to mind including ‘Normal, Mundane, Boring’. My life is none of those things, and neither am I. Ordinary, or Normal, means ‘able-bodied, capable, independent, an ‘ordinary’ body where almost everything works as it is supposed to. My body is not ordinary, far from it. It is disabled, or differently abled, and I depend on support from others to do basic daily tasks such as washing, dressing and making meals.

Neither is my life ordinary. I am young, and yet, like a retired person, I can no-longer make my own living. I depend on the taxes of others to give me an income so I can have some sort of life. The people I see on a daily basis are not work colleagues, they are carers, nurses, doctors, wheelchair engineers, physio-terrorists ….

Yet in other ways I am ordinary.  I am a young woman with hopes, dreams, fears, struggles and joys. I have a need to feel useful, to contribute so society in whatever way I can and so give my life meaning and purpose. Not only that, but I was created with a meaning and a purpose in mind. Before I was born, every one of my days was written in God’s book. (Psalm 139:4) This week I have done that in a tangible way by blogging, tweeting and emailing, more than I sometimes manage. Ordinarily, one day merges into the other in the sameness of my life. I’d encourage you to read my previous blog post and consider signing the petition I highlight, if you are eligible, to stand up for those who cannot – ordinary people sticking up for those society considers extra-ordinary or different, and yet who are human being too with hopes, dreams and fears. Fears that even the basic lives we have are under threat. This is why we all need to stand together. In standing together, we can do something extra ordinary!

Five minute Friday: Write

Writing
Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

There are many times where I am too poorly to write, or so tired that I either cannot get my words out or I cannot sit up straight enough in my wheelchair to write without falling asleep. However, there are other times when the words pour out of me. If you are a regular reader to my blog you will know I am quite an emotional person at times. Today I am in pain. Physical pain from yesterday’s first hydrotherapy session, and heart pain, as the bloke formerly known as ‘special someone’ and I have had issues this week. Oh how messy can life get? However, their loss!
I am planning a weekend of writing to take my mind off him, and off the hurt; Three different posts for this coming week, a reflection on the Holy Spirit for the minister of a church I used to attend for the beginning of their series on the same, a guest post for Wendy Van Eyeck’s blog ‘ilovedevotionals.com‘, and yet I feel I am missing something. Pain provides great motivation for writing though – Is this one of the greatest paradoxes ever?

 

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To have a go at Five-Minute Friday, just click the link! Write for 5 minutes, non stop on the given subject, and you may just surprise yourself.