enjoying a feast of grace gifts



While we are being encouraged to ‘Go Sober for October’, slide ever closer toward ‘Movember’ and anticipate ‘Dry January’, this month is fast becoming ‘Wet-tober’ for us. As a family we have extra cause for raising our glasses in celebration, because our daughters-in-law have birthdays this month. One of them is celebrating a particularly significant year, and the other also has a new job to rejoice over – cheers all round!

And as we think about the passing of time, our days are being framed by a continual downpour of rain. In learning to enjoy the journey I am on, I’m also finding ways to love the life I have. Part of that includes appreciation for seemingly small things, life’s little moments and everyday marvels which are so easily missed or go unmarked.

This summer we had an enforced stay-cation where housebound took on a whole new level of feeling like we’re missing out. So each short journey currently undertaken in the car feels like a triumph of sorts, a cause for celebration – yes, even when it pours with rain! The poem below emerged after such an outing  when visiting our elder son and his wife.

It reminds me that in every life a little rain will fall, heavy clouds will temporarily obliterate the sun, days may feel dark and cool, but light and warmth and love and joy are close by, just waiting to be found by receptive heart and eye

A veritable feast



Day’s brightness reluctantly gave way

to leaden grey, as skies poured forth

water from heaven’s hoses; sprayed

liberally now on car windscreen,

washing road, gleaming drops sit

on leaves with pearlescent glow



And I watched in wonder while clouds

parted to reveal vivid rainbow

curve of colour; God’s reminder

to Noah of flood. Then his everlasting

covenant with Abraham – made manifest

to us in Jesus Christ’s sacrificed blood



Joy has already embraced me

in hugs with family, shared news,

coffee and chocolates, exchange

of views and provisions from their

abundant garden. A veritable

feast for us to journey homeward with



We can soon become replete when

considering God’s daily grace gifts

seen in sky, its ever changing scenery

altering by the hour. Or found in

goodness closer to  ground, in our home,

friends and family – in every living thing


PS: Just in case you are curious to know more, here’s some info on Go Sober for October, how to become  involved in Movember, and a little bit about Dry January in the UK. Wet-tober is a phrase I’ve coined today, though it may well be in use for all I know!


Welcome to #day21 of #write31days of journeying into joy.

What are you seeing, appreciating or celebrating this month? I’d love to hear in the comments below.


thoughts on being a joyful giver


It is said that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. I always derive more pleasure from picking out gifts for others rather than opening my own, though they are greatly appreciated, of course. I guess I dislike being the centre of attention, or getting another year older!

When it comes to gift giving it truly is the thought that counts. We regularly receive a card through the post – proper snail mail no less – from a dear friend of ours who not only supports us in prayer but also remembers that we once used to be church members. Our faces remain largely forgotten, even our names cause puzzled faces, so long has our absence been. But to this kind lady we are still friends she treasures and fondly remembers.

I think the gift is more the encouragement of being prayed for and thought about than the card itself and small token she sometimes sends. To be held in prayer and thought of in love is no small thing. It has seen us through some very painful times.

Sometimes it is humbling to receive, especially when we’re in straightened circumstances. But we negate the potential blessing if we fail to give or receive out of embarrassment or indifference. A tender heart and listening ear will help us to be sensitive to the best timing as well as the most appropriate gift we can offer someone.

Maybe God is calling you to consider different ways of being a giver? It’s less about splashing the cash and more about expending time, thought and prayer. Our attitude matters most. God loves a cheerful giver who reveals the way He loves to give to us – freely, liberally, lavishly, generously – and radiates His loving-kindness.

God wants us to give out of a heart of love and compassion, shaped by Holy Spirit inspiration and direction. He will show us the best way to offer help and support to others as we learn to be joyful givers and grateful recipients.

Dear Father,

May we always remember to be kind, act lovingly, show mercy

As we give to others let us do so from a heart of gratitude,

not out of guilt. Show us just how much has been given to us,

so we do not become mean gleaners but gracious givers


Remind us how everyone we meet has deep secret needs

There is pain and strife, wounds are present in every life

There is an ache inside, a void only you can fill

Sadness invades us, as does grief. Every life sits in shade

sometimes. Every person is in pursuit of peace and ease


May we be given eyes to see, hearts full of compassion,

a willingness to be your hands and feet in a needy

world. Teach us how to be transformed as we feel

our way around this place. Reveal how grace shapes

our days and how best to offer it to others.


“Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver” ~ 2 Corinthians 9:7 CEB

31-days-of-journeying-into-joy-badgeWelcome to #day20 of #write31days of journeying into joy, where we are examining various ways in which we can lead a more joy filled life.  

Your presence here is gift and grace to me. Thank you for allowing me access to your inbox.  :)


joy in becoming wounded healers



Our wounds cry out for attention. Pain screams for relief. We ache to be better, long for our brokenness to be fixed, and often try everything else at our disposal before asking God to assist us.

Yet what the world offers so often feels like a sticking plaster approach. The hurt goes on festering within, covered over and concealed as it may be. And more than that, without the right attention wounds worsen, grow septic, cause greater danger to our health.

Soul wounds are no different in this respect. They require the Healer’s touch, often deep excision to cut away all that is not fitting for us as children of God. It hurts. It really hurts, but in a good way. Becoming whole is more than a slow piecing together again, sealed with a hug and kiss; it’s complete renewal, total transformation that is needed.

The world may help us with many things but our greatest soul solace is to go to our Saviour, rest in  the comfort of His presence, learn wisdom from His loving heart. We seek the solution only God can offer – complete cleansing and mending. And when we do we just might hear Him speak,  like He whispered these words to me…

Prayer Whisper: Wounds and Joy

prayer whisper image


“I, too, bear wounds. Mine are in My hands, feet, heart and head for eternity. I bear the wounds of sin and pain for all humanity. And I will pour the oil of joy into your wounds, bind up the hurt and soothe your pain with My peace.

You will walk as a wounded healer through this world as your wounds enable you to bring My love, compassion and care into the lives of others. You may not be fully healed of them in this lifetime, but you will be able to live with them

Joy waits on the other side of grief and sits with sadness. It is more than a feeling. It’s a chasing after grace, a deliberate turning in My direction when you feel low and wretched.

Joy is a conscious choice you make as you decide what direction your thoughts will take. A mind redeemed and renewed by My Word is a mind set on peace and joy.

Open the windows of your soul and see its presence. Open the door of your heart and let it in. Joy is yours for the taking.”

Our wounds and problems make us feel less than useful or able, so it seems surprising to think we are well placed to help others while we remain wounded ourselves. I believe we can be wounded healers because we know what it is to be broken, dependent on God for the healing we need.

Most of all, we know the Healer himself, sit under the protective cover of His wings, experience His help in all things, witness Him changing us or our circumstances, and are grateful recipients of His grace, mercy and peace.  We can joyfully point the way to our Saviour and be the means of refreshing others.That has to count for something, yes?

31-days-of-journeying-into-joy-badgeWelcome to #day19 of #write31days of journeying into joy.

Do you see your broken, wounded state as a potential means of grace? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


discovering joy by embracing freedom



How free do you feel? It’s not always a straightforward thing to answer. We can become bound by what seems safe and familiar, little realising how much such things can choke the joy within, suffocate with their similarity.

What we fear could actually be a pathway to freedom, a way toward expansive living we have yet to experience. It’s not always easy to discern what has drawn parameters around our days, hedged us in by happenstance. Those of us with chronic illness are aware of its limitations, ones we often chafe against.

The life we once knew gets swallowed up in a painful new familiar, a pattern not of our choosing, as it does for all who are captive to sickness, to various addictions, trapped by a painful past, or stuck in a stultifying situation in the present. And the prison we are in can feel safer than the prospect of freedom, even as we ache for release.

We’ve considered how joy sits companionably with sorrow and grief; it also accompanies us like a gentle spur inspiring challenge and change. Sometimes all it takes is a holy nudge of remembrance, an opening of eyes to the truth that already exists.

We think of Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, shame and pain. What was the joy that kept Him captive to the cross? It was the knowledge of bringing us back to the Father as blood-bought, adopted sons and daughters.

It wasn’t intended only as a hope for heaven but as a lifelong, eternal relationship transforming and greatly impacting our time on earth, a way to live freely despite difficulties, because God walks with, strengthens and equips us for everything.

Jesus broke out of the confines of the tomb, slipped off restrictive bandage-bindings and walked free, gloriously raised to newness of life. It was a statement of intent to the world and a visual reminder of the way renewed life springs from what was dead.

He offers us the same invitation to joy and freedom. We get a foretaste of joy here and a feast in heaven to come. Freedom can seem scary, or an impossible dream, but with God initiating and holding us as we take brave faith steps it becomes a liberating reality.

Because freedom and release are not necessarily gained by losing our chains. What frees and gives joy is a change of attitude, a renewed mindset that sets us free to live differently.

Our days may look the same to outside eyes but we are living with a fresh heavenly perspective rather than a worldly, earthbound mindset. Joy is not only possible in the midst of challenge and pain, it’s freely available, always.

Once we become aware how much our heart attitude shapes our thoughts, we can begin to embrace joy and discover freedom in less than joyful circumstances.

You don’t have to wait for a new year to arrive before your flight to freedom begins. You can make a fresh start Now, Today, This Moment. God’s mercy and forgiveness are available 24/7. Spread your wings and ride in God’s continual current of grace, His loving, freeing embrace.


Welcome to #day18 of #write31days of journeying into joy. My hope and prayer is that you are being helped and encouraged as we undertake this journey together. Bless you for being here.


how to experience joy for those fading days



When energy flags and health fails or fades, how do we keep joy in our souls? it’s something those of us with chronic illness have to consider, as well as all who are exhausted, stressed and depleted.

I know that having M.E and other health challenges has affected not only my ability to carry out daily tasks but also made me more prone to feeling downcast. Physical depletion can lead to soul weariness too.

Attainment of joy begins with recognising our joy stealers, those things that detract and distract us from God’s best for us. You can probably spot your own if you investigate a bit.

Here are some of mine:

  • times when I neglect to prioritise prayer as much as I need to
  • reading Christian books and blogs more than I read God’s word
  • failing to pace well or take adequate rest periods
  • missing small Sabbath pauses in my day/week where I listen to God
  • forgetting to have one whole day a week devoted to switching off
  • spending too much time on screens and on social media
  • neglecting to make real life relationships a top priority
  • pushing on regardless whenever some energy and strength are present

If I allow these things to drain me, my already severely limited energy levels dip alarmingly. Weakness and weariness invade my mood and attitude, leading to impatience and irritability – it’s not pretty. Maybe you can relate?

As we age, have health problems, extra life challenges and demands, we women, especially, can feel like faded flowers wilting with fatigue – though we often try to battle on regardless, don’t we?

Flowers are beautiful but fragile. They each have their season to shine, days when they delight with sweet fragrance and soft beauty, but all too soon they wilt, dry and die. A stark reminder of our own fragility and mortality, as well as our innate loveliness.

The roses above were photographed in evening light, making them glow and look lively, curled and furled as they may be. Day’s bright rays revealed their ragged state, now they exude an inner zest as they hang on to their life by a slender thread.

They speak to me of the way we begin to droop and stoop low with lengthening years, slump and slide with fatigue,  but are still able to glow with an inner warmth that only time and experience can provide.

We shine still in our softer, radiant way, giving off the sweet fragrance of Christ’s gentle presence within, hints of His grace that grow more perceptible the longer we have known and grown in His love.

“[Growing in grace] they will still thrive and bear fruit and prosper in old age; they will flourish and be vital and fresh [rich in love and trust and contentment]; They are living memorials to declare the Lord is upright and faithful [to His promises]; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him” ~ Psalm 92: 14-15 Amplified Bible

We have joy in knowing we never outgrow our purpose and usefulness in God’s Kingdom. We are His beloved  children, growing in grace and joy the more we look to God for help and wisdom.

*to read more about the challenge of understanding and living well with chronic illness by listening to what God is saying to us, do pay a visit to my friend Bettie’s beautiful blog, because this month she is focusing on just that theme. Here’s the intro to her series*


Welcome to #day17 of #write31days Thank you for joining me as we journey into joy!

Feel free to share what you are learning in the comments below.


finding deeper joy in Jesus



Each day leaves markers of mystery, holy echoes of eternity. If we come with open hands, open hearts and receptive minds, we are in a good place to see and sense God’s footprints in the familiar, the way He frames each day with the supernatural.

Days when pain pervades stronger than before, weeks where weeping and weariness are our cloak and covering, we may fail to see God’s presence through the fog of our existence.

Yet it is there, in tiny threads weaving their way through each hour – grace glimmers shining like gold in the midst of life’s detritus.

It takes a willingness to expand our inner vision to heavenly hands holding us close. It takes a determination to want to rise above the dark cloud of our circumstances.

It takes faith and endurance and a deliberate seeking after joy when pain and grief sit heavy as stone. Because we only begin to sense God’s nearness when we take our eyes off the problems and invite Him to reveal Himself to us, then look to Him instead.

It also requires honest confession of our feelings, vulnerability and a deciding not to hide ourselves from Him. And so we let ourselves be held, simply caught in arms of Love. All our deepest needs are met here: at the foot of the cross, by the Father’s side, within the arms of Jesus, where heaven’s unlimited provision is made available to us.

We rest our weariness, surrender our stress, anxiety and fears, allow grace and compassion to enter in, to fill and flood hearts that were previously downcast. Our feelings may take a while to match up with our faith, and that’s okay.

We soon discover joy is wrapped up best in the person of Jesus. He tenderly collects all our tears, bathes our wounds in heavenly Light. God’s radiance sears joy back into sad souls, enlivens tired minds, floods fearful hearts with an anchor of hope.

God awakens us anew to anticipation as He alerts us to His constant outpouring of grace and continual presence. He restores, refreshes and revives our lives. We find praise and gratitude begin to bubble to the surface, flowing from a heart now set on fire by Holy Spirit joy.

And we can rise, go forth into the fray with an extra zest in our steps, with a renewed awareness of God’s constant closeness strengthening us for all that lies ahead, giving a fresh measure of grace for each new day.

May these lyrics (from ‘Just be Held’ by Casting crowns) and listening to the song below help lift and encourage you: “Come to Me, find your rest in the arms of a God who won’t let go.”

31-days-of-journeying-into-joy-badgeWelcome to #day16 of #write31days of journeying into joy. I so appreciate you being here, friend! 

Together we can support, encourage and pray for one another as we learn how to journey deeper into joy.


we can still rise with singed wings



The hot flames of fiery trials and afflictions can sear the life out of us. We feel battered, bruised and burnt. Maybe you’re going through some hard stuff right now and wondering just when it will end, as life causes you to fade and lose your lustre.

Sometimes we forget that we are not alone in the heat of it all. Jesus is in the fire with us. Though He may not always rescue us miraculously, He does promise the protection of His constant presence, the comfort of His peace in the midst of our pain and problems.

How does joy fit into all of this? Surely it’s an unlikely pairing with pain? Yes and no. We feel joyless and so do our circumstances, but we cannot have the continual presence of Jesus without His joy rubbing off on us.

It’s always there, always available. Our task is to see and sense its presence, the way joy waits on the other side of sorrow and sadness, sits with grief and partners us in pain.

Joy isn’t a feeling, it’s a faith thing, a spiritual gift and grace. We don’t have to try to muster up joyful feelings, only snuggle closer to our Saviour. Because He is the repository of every good thing, the anchor for our aching hearts, the balm to calm our storms.

When we’re seeking solace, we need look no further than Jesus. Sure, we do tend to seek it elsewhere, grope for hope in other people and other things, and sometimes they help for a while. But lasting hope and help are found in God, no-one and nothing else.

With singed wings

I want to bypass hard and sharp,

miss the shards of glass piercing me

Only joy can cut a bright path

through dark, press past all our pain


and sit waiting with expectancy

for us to shake off grey dust

and all that clings tenaciously


We rise again with phoenix

of hope – blazing us clean

as we finally find our feet,

climb free with singed wings


There is still beauty to be found in the ashes of these dying back days, the paring away of vitality. God sees that in us too. We are just as precious to God, whether lively or weak, vibrant or dulled by pain. He just holds us all the more tenderly as we lean closer to Him and the safety of His loving embrace.

31-days-of-journeying-into-joy-badgeWelcome to #day15 of #31days of journeying into joy. Thank you for following along. I am praying for you all as we undertake this journey.

If anyone would like to share their current challenges, you can do so in the comments below, or message me privately. Bless you for being here, friend.