Sanity

How do you regain your sanity when you feel like you are about to lose it? Or am I the only one who ever gets to that point? (Some of my family and friends would say I was already past it!) This is one of the ways I restore my batteries – anybody else feel like sharing their’s, so that I know I’m not alone?

 

Sanity to me is

A quiet burbling beck

Running over stones and rocks

Downhill to join the river,

Its banks shrouded in trees

And mosses,

And sunshine dappling through

Twigs and leaves spread out against

The endless blue sky.

Birdsong and sheep bleating,

The sparkle of light on

Rippling water,

Dancing and glinting,

Always moving

Relentlessly on,

Unstoppable.

The scent of earth

And old leaves,

Wet lichen covered boulders

And pure fresh air,

A breeze sighing down from the moor,

Where the clouds are free

And time is ageless.

A sense of quietness

And solitude

And where the voice of God can be heard

Above the multitude of thoughts

And feelings that cause

Chaos in my head.

A momentary pause,

A brief holiday

From the tasks that rule my day

And a chance to breathe

The stillness

And remind myself of my Creator,

Almighty and All-powerful,

And eternally unchanging.

 

 

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Autumn If’s and Hopeful Wistfulness

I hope this doesn’t sound too melancholy – it wasn’t meant to be! Let me know what you think.

 

The mist covers the landscape

As I drive along the early morning road.

It veils the rolling hills in mystery,

The tops rippling one after the other,

Scattered with trees beginning to take on

Their autumn state,

Ghostly shapes in another world.

The sun rises slowly and radiates

Through the clouds,

Bathing them with a glorious glow –

A dazzling circle of fire and light,

In contrast to the vagueness

Of all else around me.

A flock of geese rest on a field of stubble,

Psyching themselves for the long journey

To a warmer destination.

Nature is tired, slowing down,

Preparing for winter.

Wisps of damp air

Like shades of wistful regret

At wasted time and lost opportunities –

Innumerable ‘if onlies’ –

Drift across my path as I ride through them.

And it seems to me that

Life can be like an early autumn morning –

When we reach That Age where

We realise that we are more than half way through

Our threescore years and ten

And time that appears for so

Many years to stretch ahead of us

Suddenly seems to be gathering pace

At an alarming rate:-

Varifocals and the odd creaking joint,

A few lines and grey hairs,

And what we thought would

Last for ever, like a child’s perception

Of long, hot summer days,

Is slipping through our fingers.

We realise that what God says

Is true. We are but a vapour,

A mist, a grass that grows and is then

Cut down.

Yet there is hope.

As the dawn sun rises

And burns the dross of the night

Away, so God can use us

For His glory – our experiences,

The lessons we’ve learned,

The things we’ve heard –

He can shine through them

And give them a beauty

That is all their own.

His grace and mercy tint them

With His love and providential care

And if we allow him to permeate

Our lives and work through us,

We will be used to prepare

Those coming after us for their

Own spring time and harvest.       

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The Substitute

 This is my attempt at rhyming!

 

A paradise

An earthly bliss

A liar’s plan

An evil hiss.

 

A loving God

His Son’s lone death

A way’s been found

Through Christ’s last breath.

 

The Holy One

Died on a tree

A substitute

For you and me.

 

He rose again

To bring release

Defeated death

And brought us peace.

 

The door’s not barred

The human race

Can now live on

In God’s embrace.  

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Plans and Steps.

‘In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.’ Proverbs 16 v 9.

 

How true that is!

We can spend so much time and energy

Plotting out our future and the way we want to take,

Forming pictures in our heads

And dreams in our hearts,

Only for God to overrule

And direct our steps another way.

 

Sometimes it seems like He manoeuvres us,

Hedging us in and round about,

So that we have no alternative

But to go the way ahead,

One step at a time.

 

Other times it seems like

There is no real path,

Only an empty, open plain

With no clear guidance,

Nothing cut and dried.

 

Sometimes we set out on a certain course,

Sure that we have it all worked out,

Confident we have ascertained

Corrrectly His will for our lives,

Firm in our resolve that

THIS is how He would have us serve Him,

Only to discover that

For some unknown reason

He has other things planned.

 

One by one

Doors shut,

And we are left flummoxed,

Puzzled,

Unable to understand.

 

And that is when it is twice as hard.

The temptation is to

Shout and scream in frustration,

To fight against it,

To mourn the loss of our beloved intentions,

The future we had mapped out for ourselves.

 

It hurts to give up dearly held and

Long awaited ambitions

That are on the brink of

Being followed through.

 

And yet, because He is sovereign,

And our Lord as well as Saviour,

We have no real choice

Except to follow where He leads,

To go where He sends,

To do what He asks,

To DIE to self,

In all its painful agony;

A laying down and humbling

Of our castles in the air,

However noble and good they may have been,

And perfectly legitimate in their own right.

 

We have to recognise,

Ultimately,

That the sacrifice He asks us to give

Is as nothing compared to the one offered up by Him

For our sakes.

 

However much it hurts us,

It hurt Him more.

And yet our reward will be greater!

We gain out of all proportion

To what we surrender for His sake.

 

If we call Him ‘Master’

What else can we do,

Except to submit,

Else we are hypocrites

And think ourselves better than He.

 

And it is in submitting to Him

That we find a richness of grace

That we never would have known before.

We can begin to appreciate more

The sacrifice He made in

Leaving His glorious home

And coming to earth as a man

To live among us, in all our

Ugliness and povery of spirit,

In order to take up His cross

And surrender His life completely for us.

 

Surely Someone Who loved us so much

That He gave up everything

Will enable us with that same power,

With those same riches

Bought for us at His expense,

To do the work He has called us to do?

 

Lord, forgive us our feebleness!

Give us the courage to press forward,

Step by step,

In the way you would have us go,

And in the doing thereof

We will experience a greater fellowship

With You in Your sufferings,

And a more profound and

Deeper appreciation of Your indescribable love.

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Singing under His wing.

Psalm 63 v 7 says ‘Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings.’  This verse ‘leapt’ out at me for the first time 17 years ago at a time when I really needed it, and it has never really left me although I don’t manage to live up to it as much as I should! Yesterday morning I began the day well with a prayer time which left me feeling peaceful and strong; however, within an hour chaos had descended and turmoil threatened! 

 

Lord, when life takes off out of my control

And the world seems to be spinning around me,

Help me to cling to You.

Help me to sing under Your wing.

 

Lord, when I start the day refreshed and focused on You,

And distractions swoop in and threaten to absorb me,

Help me to cling to You.

Help me to sing under Your wing.

 

Lord, when anger rolls in and frustrations wash over my soul,

And emotions threaten to engulf me,

Help me to cling to You.

Help me to sing under Your wing.

 

Lord, when people let me down and don’t keep their word,

Or whenI can’t live up to my own expectations,

Help me to cling to You.

Help me to sing under Your wing.

 

Lord, when it feels like I’m battling away for all I’m worth,

And the seeming futility of it all overwhelms me,

Help me to cling to You.

Help me to sing under Your wing.

 

Lord, when I see others who used to be so strong

Desert their faith and follow another path,

Help me to cling to You.

Help me to sing under Your wing.

 

Lord, when I don’t do the good I want to do

But keep on doing the evil that I don’t want to,

Help me to cling to You.

Help me to sing under Your wing.

 

Lord, when all goes well and life is good;

When I have success and feel strong,

Help me to cling to You.

Help me to sing under Your wing.

 

Lord, no matter what is happening around me,

Or what is going on inside of me,

Help me to cling to You.

Help me to sing under Your wing.

 

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To those who have gone before.

After losing several relatives last year I realised how much we can take the older generation for granted, thinking that somehow they will be there for ever. Or maybe it is just me who is guilty of this? Any way, the following came out of my thoughts:-

 

To those who have gone before.

Your example shone out to us

Through a wealth of experiences,

Many joyful, many sad and difficult.

The ups and downs of life

Made you what you were.

 

Born in a different time to us,

Shaped and moulded by a long-gone culture,

Forgive us if in our youthful arrogance

We discarded much of your wisdom

And brushed aside your loving advice

With disdain.

 

It is only as you have left us

One by one

That we realise the richness

Of each of you,

And appreciate what we have lost.

 

Your strength and steadfastness,

Your faith and strong beliefs

And consistent values,

Your teaching and your integrity

Are hard to follow;

And yet we wouldn’t be

Who we are

Without your guidance

And the privilege of knowing you.

 

May we too, with God’s help,

Be such a pattern

To those following behind us,

And may we cherish those of your generation

Who still remain.

 

And when it is our turn to

Pass from this life to the next,

In whatever manner,

Be it suddenly

Or through the path of pain

And suffering which each of you felt,

May we be spurred on and

Encouraged by the knowledge

That you trod that way too;

And may we hold on to

That faith which so encompassed you

And shone through you.

 

May our manner of dying

Be like yours,

A peaceful acceptance,

A calm waiting, a brief parting,

Secure in the knowledge

Of where we are going,

A life well-lived to the Saviour’s glory,

And a going home to our eternal Father.

 

 

To Mam and Dad B, Aunty W, Uncle A, Uncle J and Aunty E.

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Grace.

I was thinking the other day about the last year and how I wouldn’t have made it through if it wasn’t for the grace of God. This set me pondering about what a bottomless treasure chest it is and how good God is to us. One of my favourite hymns is ‘Amazing Grace’ and I believe as christians that it is something we can never hear too much about as there is always something new to discover about it, or a new depth to plumb in our understanding of this amazing characteristic of God.

Grace. The sweetest word!

With such a depth of meaning

Contained within.

The richest blessings,

The bottomless bounty

Of supernatural gifts

Ever-ready to be supplied

By a merciful God,

Who doesn’t give us

What we really deserve,

But instead

Pours out on us

His love,

Flooding us with His compassion

And tenderness,

Free of charge –

To us at least –

Bought at such price,

Such infinite cost,

By His beloved Son,

That we might know Him intimately,

Dwelling within us,

A constant Companion and Guide,

Both Friend and Master,

Saviour and Lord,

Brother, Father and Counsellor,

Shepherd and King,

The Giver of eternal life and love.

So undeserved!

So incomprehensible!

Why would the Creator of all things –

So holy and pure –

Even want to reach out

His scarred hands

And rescue us from the dirty pit

Of our own selves?

And yet He longs to do so,

And yearns to bestow good things on us,

And make of our unworthy, lowly souls

Something that brings

Honour and glory

To Himself,

To give us freedom from slavery,

Peace for turmoil,

Hope for despair,

Spiritual riches for poverty,

Open eyes for unseeing ones,

And a heart that seeks after the things He loves

Rather than one that serves itself.

It is a mystery

That He should want to take

Such spoiled, marred broken vessels

And make of them

Something of beauty,

Cleansed by His power

Flowing through them

With such infinite tenderness

And compassion;

And in the doing thereof,

Not expect us to complete

The task alone in our own strength,

But also give us all we need,

There for the asking,

To become all He would have us be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a

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3. The Garden

I wrote this when I was feeling sentimental and nostalgic at the beginning of summer!

 

I wandered down to the old garden today

Just for a look, a glance

But on an impulse, a whim

I entered, and gazed around

And as I did so, through golden sunshine on my eyes

I glimpsed the past,

And for a sweet moment heard your childish voices raised in play

And instead of last year’s forgotten vegetables and wind-strewn pots

I smelt the chocolate scented clematis and saw the neat beds,

The wooden arch, the dry stone walls.

I saw you amongst the Californian poppies, the snap dragons,

The apple blossom and the honey suckle:

Jenny, the ring leader, always in charge,

Becka, struggling to assert yourself, half-admiring, half-resenting,

Emily, just happy to be included, a whole new world of sound to be explored.

I gazed on you from a time-span away

And heard the curlew, the buzzard, the oyster-catcher and the peewit,

And remembered the ladybirds, the lace wings and the good soft feel of the earth –

Rich with memories of life gone by – through my fingers,

It’s sharp scent in the air.

I heard your laughter, your freckled faces

Bright with life and love,

When each new day was an adventure to be seized.

And now you stand on the threshold of adulthood,

Your lives before you,

Each in your own way

About to make your own memories, your own imprint on the world

With your own unique qualities.

And I remembered that time from long ago

And realised

That the glow I was gazing through

Was not the years that have passed since then

But instead it was my tears. 

 

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2. The Torment

I wrote this in March 2012 when I was going through a horrible episode of depression. So often as Christians we deny or don’t face up to the fact that we can suffer from this torturous illness too; we think we should be supernaturally above it and that we have somehow failed if we succumb, and so we add guilt to our emotional nightmare. Sometimes that may be true, but usually it isn’t and we have just fallen victim to over-exhaustion, bereavement, physical illness, or burn-out. Everybody has their limits.

Naked, I crouch outside the city walls,

Huddled in my shame

As my accuser pursues me, greedy hands

Grabbing at my shoulders,

Trying to turn me to see him as he mocks and jeers.

I twist and turn to escape, seeing the darkness, the denseness,

Weeds and undergrowth ready to trip me up,

To snatch at my feet and bring me down,

When my accuser will leap and crow with triumph,

Rejoicing in my fall, my vulnerability.

I weep inside, great silent wrenching tears,

Exposed, tormented, bereft of all

That went before,

That clothed me and that made me ME.

And somehow my family – my precious family –

Are inside those protective walls

Together,

Safe and as they have always been,

No different,

Still the same,

Gazing at me in puzzlement,

Unsure what to do,

Loving me yet powerless

Except for the strength of that love,

Drawing me on.

Yet my accuser seems at times to be too strong, and

To have the upper hand,

As he plays with my mind

And whispers untruths and lies from all angles

And sometimes shouts, sometimes screams them at me

And I am too weary to resist

Except to turn away

And seek the gateway that is God

Back to healing and strength again.

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Chapter One

Hello people and anyone who reads this! I am a forty something mother who is finally trying to seriously realise a forty something years’ ambition to write. I have often been told that I ‘have a way with words’ so I took some advice and set up a blog, in order to dip my toe in the water and see what happens. (Actually my daughter set up the  blog for me as I haven’t a clue how to go about these things).  Many of my thoughts will have a Christian theme, as that is what I am, so I make no apologies for that. Hopefully though they will be down to earth and real, and not too pie in the sky. I will be happy to receive any criticism, good or bad, but preferably the former if possible! Honest opinions welcome.

Rag Bag Rachael.   

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