I read this last night......

"While he was in Bethany...... a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfume, or pure Nard, very costly and precious; and she broke the jar and poured the perfume over his head....." Mark 14:3

It's a passage that is quite familiar - so familiar in fact that there is a danger that we just pass it by and move on - a woman comes up and pours perfume (Nard - whatever that is - but I'm guessing it must have smelled ok!), over Jesus in an act of thanks and worship that gets the disciples' treasurer all hot and bothered over the 'waste'.

One thing that has never struck me before is that she broke open the jar of perfume & poured it on him - not a quick spray, or a light dusting..... The woman was fully committed to the act of thanks and worship she had started - no going back on the pouring front - once she had broken open the seal on the jar, she was all in.....

Broken things are usually thrown away - and broken people seen as weak and out of control. How people shy away from brokenness, seeing it as something to be avoided at all costs. How much money do people spend on self-help books every year that promise to make us whole and 'unbroken'?

If the seal on the jar hadn't been broken, the essence of the perfume would never have made it out - it would have remained just a nice smell in a jar.

We all carry beauty inside - our relationship with God inside - the presence of the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and yet we still struggle to remain unbroken.

Like the symbolic pouring of her most treasured thing - we need to be broken to God to let the powerful things inside us pour out. Being broken to God isn't weak, feeble or something to be ashamed of - quite the opposite........

Being broken to God, is the beginning of courage, strength and a truly different way of living...........

Sky Pods & Sunflower Seeds.........

Been in London today having great conversations with interesting people. Looking up at the London Eye and imagining how different the view of London was from the Pods, compared to what I could see - I was struck by how easy it is to get so bogged down with the day-to-day things of life, that we lose our perspective on the bigger picture........

Like Moses in the wilderness who could only do one day at a time - but needed to remember the promise of what was to come.... Our day to day is important - and can bring a rich mix of joy, sorrow, excitement and struggle, but more important is the bigger picture - and our part in it. The danger is that the day to day that we can see, squeezes out God's bigger picture perspective, that sometimes we can't..........

I also spent a (frankly puzzling) half hour at the new Tate Modern Sunflower Seeds installation by Ai Weiwei - I'm not sure I really understood the sculpture - but loved this quote about it, which sat alongside my pondering at the Eye...

"what you see
is not what you see
and what you see
is not what it means"


This is a great read - surprising in its approach to the nature of pilgrimage, it challenges and delights in equal measure. A thought provoking approach to the topic it offers both practical ideas and inspirational reflection - a great read. I was sent this by Book Sneeze to review - but the content is my own thoughts offered without influence.

Laughter and tears.............

A time to cry and a time to dance.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away
Ecclesiastes 3:4-6

It's not often you do a whole bible passage in obvious clarity - but this was my reality in the last 48 hours or so........
People who are important to me with the best news that made me smile with relief, and the opposite that brought tears for their situation. I found things and lost things, and continued the process of grieving, scattering and gathering threads of things from the past that colour my life today.

One of those times to be grateful that there is bigger picture and we have a loving God who knows every detail of it......................

Hold tight...........

Sometimes there is nothing better than to be held really tight. Whether it's a child holding your hand in complete trust as you cross the road, or one of those big tight hugs that communicates so much more that words ever can - sometimes we need to hold on tight.

We've all been there - those times when life is a perplexing muddle. When we are looking to God for stuff but his word seems dry, the worship passes us by and our prayers seem caught in a never ending bounce from wall to ceiling & back again. When kindly words meant to encourage and the offer of a hug just make it all so much worse.

In those times of frustration or pain, we need ways to express how we are feeling - to friends and those who love us - but more importantly to God himself. And sometimes, when the going gets really choppy, we just need to hold on. Hold on to the faith we have, and the God we know. Hold on even though we can't hear his voice, see his face or feel his presence.

God allows us to go through things that we don't understand. Sometimes it's a test of our faith, sometimes it's part of our healing, and sometimes it's just that life is 'poo' - we'll never know which category our particular struggle has fallen into until we get to heaven (and maybe by then we won't care!). How many times have I cried 'I can't do this' - looking for the reply 'yes you can' - rather than the truth of 'no you can't - let me.........'

The bottom line is God wants us to hold on to him. - even when it feels like we are about to use our last fingernail to do so, because he is God, and he will bring us through. Not our struggle, or our plans or our coping strategy - but His power and His spirit.

"I pray that the God of all hope will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the holy spirit"
Romans 15:13

Hold on.
Remain faithful.
Trust Him.
He will bring you through.

One day...........

I have a cupboard under my stairs that is full of all kinds of things: boxes, bags and odd shoes - anything that I don't really know what to do with will usually find its way into the cupboard under the stairs, particularly if I have people coming around. As you can imagine it's a mess!

At the back of my cupboard is a big box full of photographs. It contains memories of several years, places I visited, things I saw, memories that I was part of. Photographs that under normal circumstances would be in albums or in frames on display for all to see, inviting people who visit me to share in these precious memories.

But they're not.

Jeremiah 23: 23-24 says "'Am I only a God nearby' declares the LORD, 'and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?' declares the LORD. 'Do not I fill heaven and earth?' declares the LORD".

God is close to us all the time. We can't hide from him and he doesn't hide from us. There's no cupboard under the stairs that we can hide from him in, because he is everywhere.

Because he's everywhere, he sees and knows everything and still loves us. He sees all the junk in my life that I'd prefer to hide; all the things I am ashamed of, all the things I don't know what to do with, are all seen by him. All the things in my life that I'd like to hide away in a cupboard under the stairs are as visible to him as if I had left them out in the middle of the room and yet he promises me that he still loves me and not only that, he wants to go through each bag and box of stuff that causes me stress and put it in order.

He sees the things in my life that are like that box of photographs too. Those photographs that aren't on display because they are the times in my life that are too painful to display, so I keep them hidden away. He sees the pictures and he knows the pain, and he promises me this:

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit." Psalm 147: 3-5

God knows every tear that accompanies those photos and offers healing for every painful moment.

Every time I open the door to my cupboard under the stairs & see that box, I promise myself that one day I will sort those photos out. One evening with a trusted friend I will go through them all and work out which ones to keep and which ones to throw away.

God offers us the opportunity to work though our memories too. Talking about some, laughing about many, crying because of others. Moment by moment he wants to flood our lives with his presence, healing and bring new and exciting hope for the future.


"For as the waters fill the sea, the whole earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of God" Habakkuk 3:14

Over the years I have often asked God to show me more of himself in my daily life - I've wanted to see him more, feel him more and somehow know him more in my every day existence - in the ordinary, humdrum day to day routine.

But lately that prayer has changed. There are so many times in the bible where God is present in the mundane and ordinary that I've started to pray less 'God show yourself', and more 'God give me eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to understand'.

Following God isn't like a mystery treasure hunt or game of hide and seek where God hides himself away, and I have to 'look really really hard' to find him. Why would God hide from me? Actually how could he possibly hide, when every fibre of creation sings of his glory......?

Even if God tried to hide himself, creation, the people in my world and my very being would sing of him every day...... If I am willing to listen.

Because sometimes it almost seems too much to take in.... When I incline myself to see, hear and experience God in the every day it can be like a freight train coming at me. Catching even a tiny glimpse of his heart for me, my world and the people in it can be so breathtaking that it is almost too much to bear - it challenges me at every corner as God speaks, explains and holds me in his amazing the depth and beauty. A glimpse of the heart of God is not without it's challenges, but I wouldn't have it any other way...........

May all our prayers today not be about 'hide and seek' - but all about 'seek and you WILL find'.


It's that film again - no plot spoiler I promise. Just yet another thought provoking line:

"you mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger"

So why are we so afraid of dreaming big?

"God can do anything you know - far more than anything you could ever imagine or guess, or request in your wildest dreams!"
Ephesians 3:20 the Message


Now, this is a bit of a quandary....... I have just seen an amazing film which sparked deep thoughts, but there's a chance that you haven't seen it - so I will need to go carefully........

Inception is a film that seems to provoke two reactions; either 'What?' with a puzzled (or if we're honest, slightly bored looking) face, or 'aaaaamazing' pronounced with at least four exclamation marks and repeated several times......

I have to confess that I am among the latter - on being seated in the Cinema on Saturday night,I was suddenly aware that the muffled ringing of a mobile phone that I could hear was coming from my bag, so I frantically texted the classic 'in the cinema - text me if it's urgent' in reply, fully expecting to text back during a slow movie moment. However, they never got their reply - the film began, and in a matter of seconds I was lost.....

Lost in a mind bending adventure of other worldliness that stretched the imagination, bent the brain and messed with my mind. I can't tell all, as to do so would most certainly spoil the plot for others - but there is one moment that imprinted itself in a 'earth touches divine' kind of way...

A girl experiences something so outside what she believes is possible that it consumes her. Fascinates, teaches, scares and releases a thousand opportunities in one life defining moment. A moment so profound that she knows nothing will ever be the same again. A truly unforgettable moment marked by fear and freedom in equal measure.

So she runs - from the possibility, from the challenge, from the opportunity, from the fear.

And the reaction of the one who introduced her to the moment?

"she'll be back........... reality is not going to be enough for her now"

And so it is - or isn't for me. Once we have experienced things of God - then how can reality - this present earthly reality ever be enough? If one glimpse of the supernatural reality of eternity with the creator of the universe changes everything - then regardless of the pain, regardless of the fear - how can anything else ever be enough?

"Better is one day in your courts, than a thousand elsewhere" Psalm 84:10

"I need Christ - not something that resembles him" C.S Lewis

Here I am.......

We all want things........ Imagine something you really, really want.
Something that you feel would make your life complete, but humanly can never happen for you.

Then imagine that God steps in and promises that he will make the impossible happen, and that he will give you your hearts desire............

But then imagine that it takes 25 years for God to deliver on his promise....... How would you feel? Would you still trust God for those 25 years - or would the doubts of the serpent in the garden of Eden creep in - "did God really say........."?

Then imagine that 12 years or so after delivering on his promise to you - God appears to be about to take away the very thing that you have waited for so long for, the thing that he promised would change the shape of not only your life - but the lives of many generations of people to come..... Then how would you feel? Then would you still trust God - and what would you say to him?

Abraham (who you can read about here) lived most of his life on a journey with God towards a place he didn't know into a future he didn't understand which on a human level didn't make sense. He had to trust God would show him where he was going, and how to get there. Promised a son, but having to wait 25 years for him to be born - then 12 or so years later climbing a mountain having been asked by God to sacrifice that beloved child, Abraham's response when God called his name? "Here I am". Whether said in faith or despair, hope or relief, strength or weakness - Abraham's response was simply 'here I am' - do with me what you will........