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.