The place of rest (2)

Beauty from Ashes

Some years ago, I met a wonderful lady called Jennifer Rees-Larcome. She is a renowed Christian speaker and has written many books. She also has a prayer ministry. She has many gifts, one of which is to see pictures in her head. There are differing views in the church of these kinds of things. However, I believe this lovely lady has a genuine gift of seeing God-given visions or pictures in her head. I met her at a women’s conference in the North East of Scotland. Obviously, there were many people who also wanted to meet her.

Jennifer’s Picture

By the time she was on her own, there was loud music playing for some reason. She asked me my name but could not hear me. Instead, she bent her head to pray. She told me something that has helped sustain me in my lowest times. The times I am ill, or feel most single. Her vision was a reminder of a wonderful truth., which I was reminded of yesterday.  This will sound incredibly random, as is typical of me, but I’d just finished watching Strictly, and was just starting a movie while reading the latest challenge from “The write project”. To write for 15 minutes, of absolutely anything that comes into my head.

Here was mine. As it turned out, my fifteen minutes was written about Jennifer’s picture long ago:

Dance dance dance dance out of the pain, out of the tiredness… dance it all away. With You by my side what is there I cannot face, cannot overcome in Your name. The picture Jennifer had years ago, still fresh in my mind. You and me, dancing, twirling, twirling, as though no-one was watching, (as the song goes…) me, beautiful, wearing the finest dress… covers all scars, bags and wheels. Indeed there is no need to think of any of that, for you do not see those. You only see me. Created, as I am, in your image.  You and me, nothing else matters.
I enter that place of rest, place of peace, which I have not found for some days. I see only what matters. All around me is vivid, how could I not see it before? The dewy grass, beauty all around me, the space, the air, the sun… One day, that will all me mine, as You have promised. For now, I see only glimpses. Then, I will see clearly, and none of what matters now will matter then.

The times, at my lowest, I remember this picture, from, when was it, at least 5, 7 years? Suddenly all of this disappears, for all I can feel is the pain. Back to remind me, that the picture in my head is not yet reality. For once the neighbours are silent. No shouting, searching, coughing, screaming. How is it, they are silent, and I am the one who cannot sleep. Doesn’t seem fair. No fair no fair, I want to scream it and shout it, be a child again, someone else take over all of this. So all I have is the place of rest. And yet, with You by my side… You promised, I could have that rest, that peace, so why is it is so fleeting?

Jesus, my Bridegroom

The Biblical Truth of course, is that Jesus is the bridegroom, and I am his bride.  Not because of me, but because He first loved me (1 John 4:19). Whenever I think of this picture, I am free, there is only me and Jesus. One day, as one of the verses in my favorite song “O Happy Day” (the Tim Hughes version!) goes:

When I stand in that place,

Free at last, meeting face to face

I am Yours, Jesus You are mine.

Endless joy, perfect peace

Earthly pain finally will cease.

These thoughts are so precious to me. I’ve had this post half written for a few days now, but have had to heed my own words, and continue to rest. There is so much emphasis placed on “rest” in Scripture. I would also highly recommend my friend @BexLewis article on ‘The Importance of Rest’ which she wrote for Bible Reflections some time ago. I’m off to get a cup of tea, and you guessed, it, some more rest!

Yesterday…

Group of friends

My favourite bit of yesterday was when I had a group of friends round. We ate biscuits and chocolates and talked Jesus for a couple of hours. Just a ‘normal Christian activity’, whatever that is. If ‘normal’ and ‘Christian’ belong in the same sentence! I ended up needing an hours nap to recover!

We’re working our way through a study about women in the bible. We’ve looked at Ruth (predictably?) and Hannah. Yesterday though, we looked at Abigail, how she responded to a crisis in her life, and then how we respond to our own crises. If you gave me a list of names and asked me which ones were names of women in the bible, I possibly could have told you she’d made the cut, but not anything about her, except that she wound up married to King David.

According to 1 Samuel (vs 2-44 if you want to look it up she was “beautiful and intelligent”. Just his sort of woman then! Before then though she was married to Nabal… a ‘fool’ because he was happy with his riches and unwilling to share them, and because he had the wrong response to a crisis. Since he refused King David’s request for supplies, his life was on the line. Abigail was the one who went to David (with the supplies this time!) and pleaded that their lives be saved… thankfully the request was granted. The study was talking about our response in a crisis (even when our lives aren’t on the line!) How do you react to a crisis? What’s your survival strategy?

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