Sunday, 11 August 2013

God's Great Dance Floor

'I feel alive....I come alive...I am alive....on God's great dance floor...'

So went the lyrics of one of the tunes in amazing Impact this year at New Wine. The first time we sang this, I kind of shrank a little bit inside. But....I thought. But, this is for people who can dance. It's for all those guys up the front who jump up and down and do that stuff I used to do when I had lungs that kind of worked. It's even for those embarassing Dad Dancers and the Liturgical Stylee ones with flags. But for me? No, I am sitting here. I'm not even standing up. I can jiggle my feet a little bit. But alive? On God's great Dance Floor?

So yep, there's part of me hanging on to the fact that I used to be out there giving it my all. I had energy and I wanted to express praise in going for it. I mean, I had rhythm. I got Highly Commended in my Jive and Ballroom exams. But now I can't do it. And it's not fair. And it's not right. And I don't feel alive on God's great dance floor. So hmmmphhh.

Huh.

But then I did that start-looking-beyond-youself thing. You know, the one where I stop thinking it's all about MEEE. And started thinking about what it really meant. And what it could mean for lovely Joyce in hospital and lovely Mum with arthritis and lovely Paul in his wheelchair. Why am I sometimes so slow to realise that things are not always utterly literal and bound by face value? I had just delivered a seminar on The Secret of Contentment (available here if anyone would like to hear it) and yet here I was, wallowing in the same old discontent of me not being able to Do What I Want.

When I had finally moved along from my self, I thought about what God's great dance floor actually was. God's great dance floor isn't a strip of slightly sweaty red carpet in the Impact venue. It isn't a place where people can physically jump up and down and wave flags and stuff. It goes so so much deeper than this. I love it as a concept, actually, because God's great dance floor is where we can all be free to be who we are created to be. And all, whether physically able or not, can dance like no one is watching. It's a place of freedom, where we can be reminded that we are alive in Christ, we are fulfilled in knowing and worshipping God, we are fully ourselves in the time we are fully surrendered. God's great dance floor is where we can sit, taking in awesome beauty, or lie, surrounded by enthralling presence, or walk onwards, knowing we are not alone.

And God's great dance floor is a reminder of the perfection that will eventually be, the wholeness of what we will be. We don't know what that will look like, but know it will be the most amazing thing we could ever experience. It's beyond imagination.

So I sang my heart out for the rest of the week and stood on that dance floor with the dad dancers and the flags. I even tapped my feet a bit <let's not go overboard here, after all>. In my spirit I was on that dance floor in every way I would love to be.

So many of us are not whole, we are not healed, we live in the pain of broken bodies or the pain of our difficult situations. But God offers us so very much even in that pain, so much of himself, having known pain beyond our comprehension. We can all be on God's great dance floor, we can all be freed in the midst of our own pain to know the God who loves us overspillingly and recklessly.

So Keeeeep Dancing....


P.S I'll be blogging that seminar as a series after a few people have asked me for it in writing, as it is far too long winded for one post, so I hope it's helpful to you. The whole premise of it is finding contentment in suffering, in challenging situations in life, and what contentment actually means.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Point Being?

We have a hamster named Bilbo.

He doesn't do very much all day, really. He sleeps a lot, and occasionally he'll have a little wander round his cage, stuff his pouches with whatever he can find and go back to bed. He might come out for a little wander round the sofa or in his ball for a while. He's not a lot of use though, frankly, he doesn't do anything much.

Except he does. He brings joy to the family. Even Adventure Bloke and I are rather smitten by this tiny rodent. The look of joy on the Adventurous Pair's faces when we brought him home was...well, Priceless. They get so much out of him - cuddling him, feeding him, cleaning him out (well, they wouldn't say they get a lot out of that particular aspect of Bilbo, but let's face it, it's all about Responsibility and Learning to care for another, and that cannot be a Bad Thing.) They love him, and wouldn't be without him.

In my darker moments I feel a bit like Bilbo as described in the first paragraph. Not a whole load of use to anyone or anything, and not doing an awful lot. What is the point of me? It's daft, but these ponderings often come more to the surface when I'm feeling a little better. It's like there's this script going on, that says 'you're doing OK, now Justify Your Existence', and I start endless guilt trips about not being productive enough and not using my education, and not even using the time I have particularly wisely (Facebook anyone?)

When I'm in the darker times of illness, I don't think like this. I don't have the energy, let alone any thought of having to justify myself. It often feels like God carries me through these times, with a level of contentment and peace that is surprising given the circumstance. It's like I know it's OK. This is how I am and this is where I am, and I don't have to do. I don't have to even be someone different, I just have to be me. And in that, God sees me a little like my children see Bilbo. He rejoices over me and wouldn't be without me. Does there need to be a point in me to God?

So why can I not carry this through to those times I feel stronger? I've had a few good weeks, I've been camping, I've been out and about and attended events and enjoyed myself. I've still tired and had to pace things, and run out of spoons on occasion, but there's been a definite shift towards stronger times. This is good! This is what I crave for in those hard times. I long for life with this kind of normality.

And then I go and beat myself up that I should be more than who I am. I'm stronger, so what am I to show for it? Why can't I simply continue in what God has provided and given for me to be?

You do not need to justify yourself, dear friends. You do not need to have a USP, or even a P at all. You are so much more than that. I can't say it enough - God loves you, unconditionally and wildly, extravagantly and often unrequietedly. (is that a word?) God doesn't love you because you have a point, because you have achieved this and that, because you run from one thing to another and are busy, even if it is all in God's name. God loves you because he made you. The Point Being there does not need to be one. Right? <shakes self>

So lets stop beating ourselves up, and get the line between acceptance and complacency right. I do not want to languish and revel in sickness or define myself by it, and neither do I want to make it the reason I don't push myself or challenge myself. But I do want to keep reminding myself that I need not justify myself.

May you have the confidence to be who you are created to be, to be your beautiful and meaningful self, and yet to reach out and keep straining toward the goal.

and stop worrying about what others think of you

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Virtual Maundy Thursday Labyrinth




Many churches partake in a ‘Labyrinth’ on Maundy Thursday. People are invited to walk through pathways, usually in a church/hall, and pause at certain ‘stations’ to contemplate on Jesus’ journey through this day.

Well, I cannot get out to a church, and I reckon a fair few of you can’t, either. So instead of going to the Labyrinth, I’m attempting to bring the Labyrinth to you. And to me. I hope that your journey through this virtual Labyrinth brings you the peace and time of reflection on this Maundy Thursday that you crave. I don’t know about you, but my Facebook feed makes me feel sad on days like these, sad because once again, I am on the outside looking in, I am the excluded one, I am the one not caught up in the busyness and the creativity and the community of all that Holy Week can bring.

But why should I be on the outside looking in? I have decided to turn the perspective around, to no longer dwell on all that cannot be, to find instead the fullness of what this day can bring. As I experience fairly hideous chest pain, surely I can turn this round to reflect on the hideous pain Jesus experienced – not only on the cross, but on that day before Good Friday?

So, here we are then. The Virtual Labyrinth.

A prayer labyrinth is not a maze, more of a journey with twists and turns, and no dead ends. There is only one way in, and one way out.

The winding path symbolizes a journey. As you negotiate the twists and turns take time to sink yourself into the mystery of Christ and his last days on earth. Think of the journey inwards to the centre as a time to let go of anything you need to let go of, the centre as a time to connect with God and the journey outwards as a time to take on the peace and protection you need to walk forwards into your life and to share that journey with others.

So we walk into the Labyrinth. We pause at the first bend where we think upon the Noise. The noise, the busyness of life, the fast paced race all around us (and sometimes not including us). Think about all the messages and information that fill our lives, competing for attention, clamouring in every day. Now is the time to turn the noise off, to pause, to shake it away.


We step forwards to another twist. We collect up our worries, our doubts, our grief, and our pain. Jesus says ‘come to me, all who are burdened, and I will give you rest.’ We lay our burdens down. You can visualise taking a bag from your shoulders and putting it on the floor, or taking off heavy shoes, or you can write down your worries on some paper and fold it up, not necessarily to throw away, but to put aside.

It may feel strange, this letting go, and not knowing what the path ahead holds. Try to trust the path, and to trust the God who you are seeking. We are taking steps, what takes place in our mind and spirit as authentic as anything our bodies can – or cannot – do.

We keep on walking, round corners, round twisting paths. Perhaps it would be helpful to begin to physically breathe in God’s presence. Slow down your breathing, and intentionally breathe out the remains of what you didn’t quite manage to leave behind at the last stop. Breathe out that niggling voice, that continuing pain. And breathe in God. Breathe out – Breathe in. Breathe out – Breathe in.



So we come to the centre. 

It’s time to sit down (I am sitting already, but taking a virtual comfy armchair in my head) and reflect.

Start by imagining a waterfall.
Psalm 42:7 says
‘Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls, all of your waves and breakers have swept over me.'

 Imagine immersing yourself in the waterfall, the rushing waters being God’s love, pouring over you, quenching your pain, cleaning your soul.




Then take this candle.

– imagine it’s the only light in the darkness. Live it, breathe it. You may want to light a ‘real’ candle at this point. Virtual is good though!


We think on these words from John 13.
‘3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.


Reflect on this verse and this image. Immerse yourself in the scene – in the sights and sounds. In the awe and mystery amidst the normalcy of the Passover Supper. Jesus is washing your feet. Perhaps you would like to take a bowl and gently wash your own feet at this stage.


There now follows a series of verses from these Maundy Thursday passages, from John 13 and Mark 14. We can take as much time as we need over each one, intentionally breathing in God’s presence as we take the words in. Each section is accompanied by an image to contemplate upon in addition to the words.



***
When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”
19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”
20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 “This is my blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”






***

28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”
31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.







***
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”




***
35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba,  Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”




***
37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”






***
43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him.




***
Are we able to watch with Jesus, this day and night? Can we, in the centre of this labyrinth, put aside our wants, desires, our very lives, to watch, to wait?

The centre of the Labyrinth. The centre of history.

***

When we are ready, we begin to walk out of the Labyrinth. We take with us our tears, our shame, our peace, all that we have found and experienced as we journeyed through. We keep breathing in God’s presence. We take the memory of Jesus washing feet and the waterfall of grace washing us clean.
We come to the place we laid down our fears, our worries, pain, doubt, grief. Perhaps we decide to pick up our folded piece of paper and keep it with us once again, yet with all that we have contemplated here superimposed upon it. The pain is with us, and yet so is the mystery. So is the waterfall, the breakers. So is the agonised Jesus. Where does that leave our pain?

So we take it upon us, and we take it outwards. We walk to the Noise again. Can we take less of it back upon ourselves than we came in with? Can we leave some of the messages, some of the script, shaken off at our feet as we leave? Can we replace it with all that we breathed in, and with the mourning that comes with the watching and waiting, for now? Can we see all the ground we walk upon as holy ground, as stepping out with all we have inside, as taking it with us?


We leave the Labyrinth.



So, who said we’re not able to join in? We’re far from the outside. We’re on the inside, looking out. We’re watching and waiting with Jesus, we’re holding our pain and we’re living in the great mystery of Maundy Thursday, today.




Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Amy's words

I'm a big fan of Amy Carmichael., a late 19th/early 20th century missionary who set up an orphanage in India, among many other things. Her story always resonates with me because she suffered from a nerve disease and then late in life had a fall which meant she was bedridden for many years. Despite this, her writings show that she was anything but bitter. If I could emulate anyone's spirit, it would be Amy's. She had a beautiful way of looking at things, a strong and certain faith and a grounding in gritty reality. I wanted to share something she wrote today, for all those who are feeling that their circumstances reduce them to a kind of uselessness or worthlessness. So Amy is guest blogging here at GreatAdventure :)

'You were like a leafy bush, and many little things came for you to shelter. You were not great or important, but you could help those little things.
And it was the joy of your life to help them.
Now you can do nothing at all.
Some desolation - illness, monetary loss, or something you cannot talk about to anyone, a trouble no one seems to understand - has overwhelmed you. All your green leaves have gone.
Now you cannot shelter even the least little bird.
You are like a bush, with its bare twigs . No use to anyone.
That is what you think.
But look again at this bare bush. Look at the delicate tracery of its shadow lines on the snow. The sun is shining behind the bush and so every little twig is helping to make something that is very beautiful. Perhaps other eyes, that you do not see, are looking on it too, wondering what can be made of sun and snow and poor bare twigs....
The spring will come again, for after winter there is always spring.
......Now, in the midst of so much unhappiness, engulfing your heart in cold, let these words seep down - like figures of sunlight, like trickles of first-spring rains - to refresh your inmost soul. God will not fail you, who is the God of the sun and the snow.'

- from 'Figures of the True'

These words minister to me. There are times my heat feels 'engulfed in cold' and my life a shadow of what it once was. No use to anyone. Sometimes I cannot get beyond this pattern of thinking, and sink deep into it, believing more and more lies, living as if it were true. It's hard to dig my way back up. Sometimes it hits at the strangest of moments - when I feel well, for example, or well for me. It's almost as if when I am ill someone carries me, someone sustains me and holds me, but the times I feel better I have to do some battling to keep going. I have to discipline myself to not let the time slip away unproductively on facebook.

It's those times that words like Amy's seep down and blow apart the lies. God will not fail me, God will not fail you. Do not listen to the words which destroy. Believe what God says about you. Whatever you think of yourself, there is a beauty and value in you beyond words. Whatever your circumstances, the spring will come again, for after winter there is always spring.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Abiding Love

So, it's Valentine's Day. So I thought I would write a nice Smuggety McSmug post about how lovely it all is and how wonderful and marvellous Adventure Bloke is.

Except I didn't really.

Now, Adventure Bloke is indeed most wonderful and marvellous, but that is not the content of this post, I'm afraid. I wanted to express something of what love is. The love that underpins all loves. Abiding Love.

Now I'm loving the word 'abiding' at the moment. It's not a word used very often in day to day speak. The only time I can think of hearing it is in the hymn 'Abide With Me' <remember the hauntingly beautiful version of this at the Olympic opening ceremony?>  It's a word that goes deep, that says so much about God's nature.

The dictionary definition is:

Adjective: [of a feeling or a memory] Lasting a long time, enduring
Synonyms: permanent - lasting - constant - enduring - stable

Now, quite a few friends around are struggling in their relationships. Marriages are breaking down, vows are broken, people emotionally abused, discarded. Or simply finding that love has gone. Human love seems to be fleeting at times, transitory, difficult to pin down. People search for love and come up empty. Can the best of human love satisfy the deep need in every soul to be loved, completely and utterly, to be loved abidingly?

God's love is abiding. Abiding is faithful. Abiding is permanent. Abiding is forever. Abiding, also, brings to mind the image of living in a place - of being somewhere, of staying put, of waiting, almost. There is a sense in which God's abiding love is a love that lives with us, stays with us, and waits with us. Never giving up when we are unfaithful to God, not forgetting us when we forget God. We could do all we could do to damage our relationship to God and yet abiding love is still there.

When I see human love doing as it should do and being as it should be - loving unconditionally, valuing the loved one, giving, acts of random kindness, patience, generosity etc, I think of God. I think that such love is possible because of God's image in each of us. When I see it go wrong I mourn at God's image being marred again. When I get it wrong I mourn at God's image being marred in me. And yet there it is - the beauty of it. When I get it wrong, there is still Abiding Love. 'Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me'...

I'd like to think of St Valentine's Day as a day where we can all be reminded of that greatest love <yes, I did resist the temptation to break into song there> and know that whatever our circumstance, however bruised, battered, broken or tired we are, even if we are bumbling along quite happily, we can know the abiding love of Christ, the love with longevity that will never give up.

I'll end this with lyrics by Tenth Avenue North

By Your Side
Why are you striving these days/Why are you trying to earn grace/Why are you crying/Let me lift up your face/Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love/Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough/To where will you go child/Tell me where will you run/To where will you run

And I'll be by your side/Wherever you fall/In the dead of night/Whenever you call/And please don't fight/These hands that are holding you/My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side/They swallowed the grave on that night/When I drank the world's sin/So I could carry you in/And give you life/I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you/I want you to know/That I, I love you/I'll never let you go


This post is dedicated to K, J, S, C and J

 





Thursday, 24 January 2013

Ten years ago....for the Oct 03 girls

So ten years ago this week, ish, I found out I was pregnant with Adventure Boy.

After letting the obvious folk in on the secret, where was the first place I ran to? Well, I plugged my modem into the phone socket, keyed in my password and waited while the phone line screeched at me for a silly amount of time before Connecting To The Internet.

The Internet was relatively young then. Netscape and Demon and Windows 2003. I'd used the net since around 1994 but it all seemed so amazingly quick. I kept a book on the computer desk to read between pages loading and couldn't even dream of broadband.

So where did I go? I discovered Babycentre when Adventure Girl was a newborn in 2000. I joined the 'September 2000 Birth Club' and talked with other mums about nappies, feeding and exhaustion. I never thought of the others on the board as friends, just people to chat to. Then I joined the Trying for another Baby board sometime in 2002, and things began to change as I began to get to know Real People. I was so excited about joining another birth club right from the start, and will never forget the excitement of the BFP posts for the TFAB graduates!

So Ten Years Ago I worked out my due date, waited for the page to load for about two hours then logged on to the October 2003 Birth Club. Here's an old archive of the Babycentre mainpage, bring back memories anyone? Babycentre in Feb 2003

When I joined that club in great excitement I never dreamed that I would be making some lifelong friends and that ten years later would still be in touch with almost 30 of them via a certain Social Networking site that had not yet been invented.

So we got into the swing of being the Oct 03 club. We saw each other through pregnancy and birth. I remember you had to load each post in turn and there was no automatic signature so we used to end every post with our due date. I used to open a Word document to be able to reply to everyone. It was a lengthy process! It used to be the first thing I did in the morning, log on to see what new posts there were. Eventually I managed to get myself voted 'moderator' which meant I had to report any naughty swearing or fighting. :D



As babies were born the board's hundreds of members began to narrow down to a smaller core. We discovered Yahoo Chat and msn and whiled away hours chatting merrily away and laughing until we were crying (mnfao, anyone?) We began to arrange meet ups and swap emails. The Board had somewhere along the way become more than a place to go and talk about babies. We shared life together, the ups and downs, and gradually became so much closer than random internet strangers.



Somewhere along the way Babycentre changed, and we didn't like it, being the traditional old stick in the muds that we are ;) Suddenly there was sparkles everywhere. And Tickers. You know - my child is 3 years, 4 months, 5 days, 2 hours, 7 minutes and 55.5 seconds old. And It's Been 2 days since I shopped at Tesco. And 6 weeks until we see Great Aunt Edna. You know the sort. We refused to take part, we declined to be part of the ticker generation. Except we didn't. Slowly, insidiously, the Glitter crept in, the Tickers claimed us. The pretty signatures with pictures of our babies - yep - we bought into it all. Most of us. There were a few die hards ;) And secretly, we quite liked it really.



But then they changed it more, and wanted to chuck off the oldies like us, those whose babies were not babies anymore. So we decamped to our own site, we left on masse, shaking the dust off our feet, and never looked back. Then Facebook happened, and well - the rest is history, really.



I can't believe it's been ten years. We've been through so much together. Here's to many happy years to come, Oct 03 girls :)


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Leaning

So, here it is. I have prevaricated and procrastinated for long enough. It's time to tell about that experience. You know, the big one, the one where I wondered if I'd see 2012 through.

What a fellowship, What a joy divine
Leaning on the everlasting arms
What a blessedness, what a peace that's mine
Leaning on the everlasting arms

This is me in the 2nd week of December, or thereabouts.

I suddenly went down with pneumonia in both lungs and went straight into hospital. I was there around 2.5 weeks. I don't have an awful lot of memory of the first week, it's a tad blurry. I remember being really, really scared. I was on constant 02 and still couldn't suck enough air in. I felt like I was drowning.


Lord I'm leaning, leaning
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning, leaning
Leaning on the everlasting arms

I only remember calling out to God once. 'Why?' The answer was in the silence and the struggle for every breath. In the recollection of Jesus' own agony. In the ministrations of the staff, in the love of my family and friends. No awesome glimpses of heaven or visions of angels. But a God who was next to me, in it with me, who knew.

What have I to dread
What have I to fear
Leaning on the everlasting arms
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near
Leaning on the everlasting arms

This was the worst exacerbation of my disease in at least 12 years. I cannot remember before such a desperate fight. I would wake up and be unable to move. The pain came with the lack of breath. I'm still recovering from that bit.
Lord I'm leaning, leaning
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning, leaning
Leaning on the everlasting arms

I'm aware that this is sounding somewhat melodramatic. But it's cathartic to get down how it was, exactly, and come to terms with that. I was too busy battling to reflect an awful lot, and then too busy recovering. I think I wrote on Facebook after the first week 'I feel like a piece of driftwood washed up to the shore.' I felt exactly that - like I'd been bashed around on the rocks for a week or so, and now it was time to rest. I'm still there, really. I've left the house a few times now, but normal life is still on the housebound side.

Oh how sweet to walk in the pilgrim way
Leaning on the everlasting arms
Oh how bright the path grows from day to day
Leaning on the everlasting arms

It puts a lot of stuff into perspective, something like that. Obvious stuff like the importance of good relationships, like being so very grateful for the love of family and friends. And less outward stuff like realising the importance and even sacredness of each moment. No point trying to live for the future. I could be straining for when I am 'better', whenever that may be, without taking each day for what it is, for the beautiful moments therein. For the laughter with my children over daft YouTube clips, for an evening with Adventure Bloke watching a favourite programme. For each moment with friends who visit. Life doesn't need to be so quick, so furious. Slowed down things can be appreciated.
Lord I'm leaning, leaning
Safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning, leaning
Leaning on the everlasting arms

I'm pondering on contentment at the moment, and what St Paul meant by 'the secret to contentment'. A lot of people seem to base it on circumstance, on health, on relationships. When one of those things is stripped out is it possible to be content? Is it possible that contentment could be to do with the moment, and finding God in the moment? More on this to come as I ponder.

So I'm Leaning. I was Leaning in the hospital, leaning further in than I had perhaps done ever before. The everlasting arms were there, as they always are and always will be. I think that in leaning, far from losing my own independence, I gain all that I am supposed to be, and the further I lean, the further the truth of this is revealed. Try some leaning yourself :)

With thanks to the amazing David Crowder Band.