Scar Tissue

‘Scars show us where we have been. They do not indicate where we are going’. ~ Edward Allen Bernero.

Nearly every part of the skin on his body had been used for grafts, but an area on his shoulder still looked suitable for another one. The surgeon decided to use it. Full thickness burns make a mess of the body’s largest organ, the skin.

After eighteen years, Matthew is now having more operations to deal with the scar tissue that the burns had left from his accident when he was three years old. As he grew, his skin grafts didn’t grow with him. Scar tissue’s like the boss of the area where it sits, hard and ruthless. Now it was time to deal with it.

Last week, as I thought about our dear grandson in the operating theatre with the plastic surgeons, I prayed for them all. Matt had said to me, ‘God will be there’. What a comfort to know the Lord was watching over him and guiding the hands of the surgeons: one working on his twisted tear ducts, the other on his left hand.

I’ve been thinking about scars this week. Since then, Matt’s had another operation to deal with some on his neck; they were pulling his ear out of place. He still has more surgery before Christmas. What a brave young man! And he never complains.

These events have made me think about the way injuries affect our lives. We’re sometimes exposed to sad events: physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. They damage us and often leave us disfigured. Some scars aren’t easy to hide. Others are unobtrusive, but painful. What’s the best way to deal with them, I wondered?

I knew the answer would be in the treasure trove of God’s wisdom: the words he’s given us. They may be in the form of stories or proverbs. Words of advice can also be found in the experiences of God’s people. We’re wise if we let him apply his solutions to our pain. And the Holy Spirit will be there to remind us of the words that Jesus said, and the things he did. We just have to ask him!

There was a time in my own life when I couldn’t dislodge the grief and condemnation that was hanging on like a misplaced sinew. Fortunately another Christian told me about the perfect answer in the Bible. It reads like this: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. At first, I couldn’t ‘see’ it because I’d formed an intractable thinking-habit. But I was desperate for release, and suddenly…I understood!

God’s clear words mean there’s nothing I can do that will condemn me when Jesus has died to take away all the sinful things I’ve done. Imagined or real sins, Jesus dealt with them all! I immediately knew for sure that the tight-gripping ‘scar’ was dissolved forever! No longer did I have to let it pull at me and distort my God-given peace.

I love those same reassuring words in The Message version of the Bible.

With the arrival of Jesus, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those of us who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us, no longer have to live under a continuous low-lying black cloud. 

And it goes on to say: A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fateful lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death – Romans 8: 1-2

What a wonderful solution to free us from the effects of every scar!

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Our Times are in His Hands

At this time of the year I like to post our Christmas mail early. As I look at my list, I wonder, how many of them are still alive since last year? We’re often only in touch at Christmas and I don’t know all their families, so I’ve started to check the obituaries online  and I’ve found several who’ve died. Part of growing older is losing more family and friends.

Last week I found a death notice for a lady who’d reached ninety years, but died a few months later. Wilma was part of the writing group that I attended many years ago. She was a dress-designer and did an enormous amount of sewing for her local hospital. In her card to us last year, she said, ‘it keeps me busy!’ She was involved in her church and walked everywhere. In the writing class, she’d begun an historical story that I hope her family will appreciate. It was a fascinating tale. When her children were young, she was also a writer for a State-wide school magazine and always on the go! She’s earned her rest.

Another friend of mine found that she was attending a lot of funerals and so she decided to visit as many cousins and friends as possible before they passed on! She’s also kept busy! In a couple of years she’ll be eighty, but in the meantime, she has a large garden to tend and gathers flowers from it to arrange for her church and a local nursing home. Some people are given health and strength; some are not so able, but they continue to press on with their activities in spite of pain. Connie’s one of them.

A couple of my friends have developed dementia. I still send a card at Christmas to Louise, and another for her birthday which falls earlier in December. Her daughter says she enjoys them, but may not remember who I am. She had some shocking experiences in her early teens during the Second World War when she was interned in a camp in China with her mother and sister. Maybe this present situation has released her from those melancholic memories. And then there’s Gillian, a friend who struggled with many issues throughout her life and had dementia before she died this year. Such a compassionate lady.

It seems strange now, to write on the Christmas cards, and address the envelopes, without including the name of the one who’s gone on ahead. There are husbands, cousins, mothers, grandmothers, who’ve all left their imprint on our lives and it’s hard to think of them not being around anymore.

During our life, whether we’re young or old, some friends and family die, but it’s more common in our later years. It’s a precious thing to know that we don’t have to worry when our name will be called. And it’s essential to know that we can prepare for it. I’m glad my parents taught me not to leave it too late to get ready to go. I don’t need to grab a new coat to cover my old body before I rush out on that journey to my new life. God has another garment; one that will fit perfectly. That’s because he has a new body ready for me. Amazing!

Jesus said, ‘Don’t be afraid…I have authority over death’.  ~ Revelation 1:18

Our bodies die, but our spirits live on because we believe that our times are in God’s hands. Our life, our death, and especially our eternal future, are all arranged in the timing of God. What a wonderful thing to know!

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Letting the Light In

Since we began renovating our new home, Catherine, the real estate agent who sold it to us, has been watching the improvements…from the street. She passed by from day-to-day and was keen to see the inside again! At last we agreed. As she stepped through the front door, she cried, ‘It’s much better with that wall gone! So spacious and light; you’ve opened it all up’.

She slid the glass doors open and looked out onto the garden, recalling all the rough old spiky plants. It’s a soft, peaceful place now. Espaliered fruit trees grow against the new fences, so we’re looking forward to  apples, peaches, pears, apricots, avocados, grapes and more. The two tiny vegie patches are gone and low brick walls now hold rich composted soil in the seven large beds where beans, corn, spinach, rhubarb, and many more plants thrive.

Flowers bloom by the door: golden freesias and purple pansies with their faces turned to the sun. Herbs grow at the base of the wall and sweetpeas scramble up the fence. Neat compost bins in the corner contain yummy food for the worms, and peas grow along the edge of the new lawn, their pendant pods tempting us to pick them.

We’ll have to invite Catherine back in another season to see more. There’ll be liliums, daffodils, kale, coriander, capsicums…and anything else you can grow to eat and enjoy in our climate! She doesn’t have time to tend a garden at her own home. ‘My lemon tree’s dying’, she lamented. When she described it, Maurie said, ‘It needs more water!’

We came inside and sat for a while, with Catherine enthusing about the way we’d improved everything. ‘A new kitchen!’ she said. ‘New flooring and nice paint colours’. She remembered the huge bathroom which was now transformed into three wet-area rooms. ‘I love the colours on the splashbacks’, she said.

Before Catherine left, she gave us an updated valuation on our home. I asked her why it was much more than we’d expected. ‘It’s so light and inviting!’ she said as she waved her arms in the air. ‘It would sell any day of the week!’

Later, I reminisced about the changes in our home. I’ve already written about the difficult, drawn-out process and how impatient I was for it to be finished. In the end, I appreciated it more this way than having everything done at the beginning. In a short time, we’ve achieved a lot, but we had help, mostly from our family and church friends. How I love them all for their willingness to be there for us. And Maurie’s been amazing, learning new skills and working hard on his own without much assistance from me. My part was to clean up after him!

I’ve learnt many lessons in our new home. I’ve wondered, Do I have other ‘walls’ in my life that need demolishing? Is anything blocking God’s light in me?

I’m reminded of the home the Lord’s preparing for me in heaven. There won’t be any walls there to stop his light from filling it and there shouldn’t be here either! I can experience a foretaste of my heavenly home now, but, seeing God wants to get it ready, he needs me to send him the materials: my treasures. Can you think what they might be?

Jesus said, Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust…or stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven…where it’s safe. The place where your treasure is, is the place where you’ll most want to be… – Matthew 6:19-21 (The Message Bible)

 

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Learning From A Men’s Choir

Whenever I go to a women’s conference there’s always something lacking: when we sing, I miss the men’s voices.  My favourite singing voice is not the soprano! But I do love to listen to the Welsh Male Voice Choirs. Pardon my preferences, but give me a bass, baritone or tenor any day! So imagine how thrilled I was to see a few dozen men coming into our church’s evening service recently. They were so friendly and happy, warmly shaking our hands before they sat down in two blocks. Later, they stood up and sang for us and how I loved their wonderful harmonies!

I guessed where these men had come from. One of our branch churches is at Koo Wee Rup, the asparagus capital of Australia! One day a ‘little old lady’ – as the local pastor, her son, calls his mother – saw a man riding a bike past the church door. She ran out and called to him, ‘Why aren’t you in church?’ He replied, ‘I’ll be back’. The next week he returned with his fellow workers, all asparagus pickers. Since then, they’ve become part of the church family there and are a great blessing to the congregation.

They come to Australia regularly so they can earn money to send back home to their wives and children in Vanuatu. They’re very good workers and love to sing. Their bosses appreciate their work ethic and now we’ve had the pleasure of meeting them too.

A couple of weeks ago some of them came back to our church to sing for us again and lead the worship. Here they are in this skinny photo, crowded onto the platform! I’m sorry that it’s hard to see the ones at the back! How wonderful it was to participate while they sang songs in English. What fun we had when we tried to join in, even when they used pidgin, which some people in our congregation understand. I loved the way they clapped, swayed, raised their hands and harmonised beautifully. A wholehearted choir, glorifying God together. Lovely!

A couple of them also read from the Bible, in their own language and in ours. I admired their facility in English. When I think how little I know of any other language, I feel embarrassed. These people are successful at what they do. They make me wonder, How successful  am I? I see that I can learn from them. I’m not a natural risk-taker, but they’ve taken risks that I never will. Leaving their homes for such long periods during the year is a big undertaking. They must miss their wives and children while they’re here.

As I’ve written before on this blog, we have regular Culture Nights in our church. Different nationalities in the congregation lead the worship and show us the way they danced and used drama and song in their birth countries. Bright garments, scarves floating from their hands above their moving bodies and different music styles make for regular experiences in cultural diversity for us all; something we’d never see otherwise.

I remember from my childhood how Vanuatu used to be called the New Hebrides. Missionaries went there with the Gospel of Jesus and taught the people about him. Times have changed and now they’re coming to our country. I love their smiling faces and wish I could meet their families. The church is a great place to start getting to know them. We all have the same Father. It will be great one day in heaven when we meet each other again and worship him together. In the meantime, we’re practising here!

 

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I Didn’t Understand

Christian Endeavour Membership Certificate

When I was a small child, I signed a pledge, promising to follow God all my life. Now, when I look at that old certificate, I think how little I understood what I was doing then. There are good promises and statements there, but it took a long time for me to grasp the whole picture, and I’m still learning!

I was sincere when I said I believed Jesus was my Saviour, and I did want to follow him, but I’ve only let God give me morsels along the way in comparison with what he was generously offering. Over the years, I’ve meditated on this and discovered how differently God views his place in my private sanctuary. He doesn’t think of me as another person to visit for an occasional bite to eat. He wants a feast with me! All the time!

It’s understandable, that at the age of eight, I wouldn’t fully comprehend the depth of a commitment to the Creator of the Universe. Neither would I clearly perceive what God was promising to do on his part. It wouldn’t have been possible for my elders to explain it all to me at that time, either! Why did it take so long for me to see what God was getting at when he showed me himself? Before I was born, he loved me so much, and wanted to live in me forever! What love! What close companionship! What a friend! But first he had to send Jesus to die in my place so I could have my sins washed away. That was the only way I could have complete peace and be with him in heaven. 

We all take time to develop our relationship with God. Anything that’s going to last forever isn’t made in a hurry! While we’re young, we’re growing in natural knowledge, and God takes on the task of teaching us how to become acquainted with him. That’s the most important thing we’ll ever know! He’s the most important person we’ll ever know!

He approaches us; we just have to respond. He’s never satisfied with a superficial friendship with his children. He wants a deep, intimate one! So I’m not sorry that I didn’t know him better when I was young. I realise he came regardless of my lack of understanding. He began by showing me a fascinating life with him. I’m learning to know him better everyday, and he’s wonderful!

I Didn’t Understand

You wanted to come. You saw I needed you.

I knew you were my Saviour when I signed, in my childish hand,

a contract with you for eternity.

But I didn’t fully understand.

 

You longed to fill me up, came to spread Your life in rooms that sparkled.

What beauty You planned:

Your holy light, Your fragrance.

But I still didn’t understand.

 

You came to stay forever and laid a spread for me.

You rejoiced in celebration. We ate and drank together.

In the background, did I hear a band?

But still, I didn’t understand.

 

I thought You were out there, busy being creative and good.

Not looking inside myself, I settled for the bland, the second-hand.

I only faintly sensed Your glory.

I certainly didn’t understand.

 

You wanted first place, to give me everything,

You needed first place; my attempts were puny,

like sand; no foundation for a home in heaven.

I began to understand.

 

You only have one way of living: gloriously!

Your home at my place is a heaven, a haven You’ve made.

So grand.

And now I’m learning how to understand.

 

Lyn Thiele  ~ 10/2017

 

 

 

 

 

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Beepers

I’d been busily working all morning with lots of tasks, when I heard a beeping sound. I knew the washing machine was on, but the cycle wasn’t finished yet. I was cooking a lamb shank for dinner – yum – but this sound wasn’t the faint single beep from the oven.

I was also writing a series of devotionals for the church, which meant the use of a small timer to prevent me from staying at the computer for too long in one sitting…that’s if I remembered to set it! No, I’d just come out of the shower, so that suspect was eliminated. So what was it? Ah, I’d forgotten that I’d put the breadmaker on to bake a loaf for tea.

How I rely on those timers! I also use the little one to make sure I hard-boil eggs for exactly the right length of time: not runny, not too hard, and definitely not until the saucepan turns black! Oh dear, that’s happened so many times in my life, but not this day.

Perhaps you’ll be pleased to know that the bread turned out beautifully, the weather was lovely for getting the clothes dry, the devotionals were coming along, and some eggs, which I did cook later in the afternoon, were perfect for the sandwiches we were going to eat with the fresh bread.

I thought about those beepers as I continued my day’s work. They’re an important part of our lives these days, aren’t they? As I pondered, I recalled the conversation I’d had recently with one of the young women in the church youth group. She was saying that the young people wanted to participate in the two-month 24-Hour Prayer Commitment for our nation. We’re facing huge problems at the moment with Governments wanting to legislate for things that Christians are not happy about.

When the young people went to enter their names on the Calendar, they saw my name already there. This young lady said they were amazed at the slot I’d chosen. ‘How can she get up so early?’ one of them asked her. ‘I have enough trouble getting out of bed by 7 am’, another said.

I smiled. ‘I chose that time between 4 and 5 am because I’m usually awake then. And I don’t get up either; I just stay in bed and pray. That’s my time for talking to God about my whole family and all the others whose lives have touched mine’. She laughed and said, ‘Good on you’. Later I saw they’d found suitable times to pray. Good on them!

For a long time, the Lord has been waking me in the early hours of the morning to pray. It’s not that I’m particularly spiritual; I’m just older now and don’t need as much sleep as I used to. I’d noticed that I woke at this time and thought the Lord must be wanting me to pray, so I did. It’s amazing how God fits in with our schedules. And he doesn’t need a beeper; he just wakes me!

Here’s a verse from Matthew 14:25 in the Bible: At about four o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them walking on the water. This is The Message version, but other translations have the time as ‘in the fourth watch’. The reason why Jesus wasn’t with his disciples on the Sea of Galilee, was because, at the end of his busy day, he’d insisted they go ahead of him to the other side of the lake, while he stayed behind and prayed, as was his usual habit. Good on him! What an example he set for us.

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A Taste of Another Culture

The auditorium was full of bright colours. Flags and banners hung from the walls and lively music greeted us when we arrived. The men and women wore their bright best, with the little children in gorgeous suits and dresses. It almost felt like another country! We were having another culture night at our church! This time it was our Indian community who presented songs, dances and messages from the Bible to give us an insight into the way they worship in their country. They encouraged us to sing with them in one of their own languages and it was great to share their joy and learn about their homeland.

Some other members of the congregation also wore Indian dress which they’d bought on their visits there. Although I’ve never left my own country, I was able to find an Indian jacket in my wardrobe! I’d purchased it here in Australia!

You may be wondering if the little boy I wrote about a while ago made another platform appearance again. No, there wasn’t any dancing this time for two-year-old Ethan. Perhaps he guessed that he isn’t Indian? His family come from Ethiopia! But there were other children involved on this night, dancing and singing. It was beautiful to see them them worshipping the Lord.

As I stood among the people, I reflected how abundantly God has provided for the nations of the world to hear his important news. He started with only a small number of people from a small country. With no newspapers, television, internet or radio, he’d organised for them to spread the message that he loves everyone. We learned how the name of Jesus was brought to India by Thomas, one of his twelve disciples. When we heard the statistics for Christianity’s lowly place on the list of the religions of India, it was a challenge to us. How few they are amongst that huge population.

One of the items that I will always remember was a group of young women dancing together. I think only two of them were Indians! Africa, Samoa, South Korea and, believe it or not, Australia was represented! I felt it was a picture of international unity as they blended their gifts together. A lady from the church, who had been a top Indian dancer, choreographed their worship-dance and taught them how to do it. We were all very impressed by it.

These lovely people had been working for three months to lead us in this evening of praise and worship with the message of God’s love for the whole world. I’m sure he saw it all and enjoyed himself!

Before the end of this year we’ll be having three more of these cultural nights at turningpoint church in Cranbourne. There’ll be one each from the Philippines and Vanuatu, then the Africans will bring us another presentation before Christmas. Not everybody is able to travel to other countries and see unfamiliar cultures first-hand, but here in our church, we can participate in them, even eating their food that they provided for us!

I love these people in our congregation. They’re so friendly, willing to share their lives with us, and we can laugh together over our inability to pronounce their convoluted (to us!) names! I’ve never known so many people from such a variety of nations before. It’s a privilege to have them in our church. What a great contribution they make to the worship, the service and the multi-faceted face of God. He uses them to show us what he’s like.

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Falling in Love with Praise

It’s easy to fall in love with it; it makes us feel good. But it can be a trap for the unfulfilled heart. I’m referring to the compliments that we all receive when we’ve done well. Without them, the world would be a sad place, but it takes discrimination and courage to accept praise fruitfully.

When I tutored a writing group, I was always pleased when the supervisor said that ours was the most successful class at the Community House…especially when others were there to hear her say it! There it was: the temptation to think beyond the compliment, to feelings of superiority. A poor attitude for a person who knew that she needed God to run the group!

Sometimes, when I’ve created something, I’ve thought, I hope they like it. Will they say I’ve done well? I know my gifts and I enjoy using them. They are the things that God prepared way ahead for me to do. (Ephesians 2:10) I ‘see’ myself walking along a country road, gathering parcels that have been left in the grass, hidden there just for me! But, I shouldn’t look for a permanent audience to stand there and applaud!

John Chrysostom, a saint from the fifth century AD, said, ‘I do not know whether anyone has ever succeeded in not enjoying praise. And, if he enjoys it, he naturally wants to receive it. And if he wants to receive it, he cannot help but be distraught at losing it. Those who are in love with applause have their spirits starved not only when they are blamed off-hand, but even when they fail to be constantly praised’.

Can desiring approval become an addiction? There must be a better way to accept praise. It’s a talent many people have, and they should be allowed to use it. We all like to be told that we’re valued; none of us want to be taken for granted. God doesn’t either. Although the Bible is full of instructions to praise him, he doesn’t need it to make him a better person. He’s perfectly fulfilled already. We praise him for who he is, and for the way our hearts fill with love for him for his many blessings.

Bob Mumford, a Bible teacher, once mentioned how people complimented him on his sermon as he greeted them at the church door each Sunday. He used to reply that it was the Lord who should get the glory, but later, he began to simply smile and say, ‘thankyou’. When he arrived home afterwards, he’d go into his study with his collection of appreciations, and say, ‘Here are all your compliments, Lord’.

I’ve been talking to God about this and he’s given me some advice: instead of doing things for myself in order to be praised, (a subtle difference), I should remember that I’m doing things for him and for others. I thought I was, but I hadn’t seen it quite that way before!!

So how do we handle all the compliments that come our way from appreciative, blessed people? It’s not easy for a person whose love language is ‘words of affirmation’! It’s not the approval that’s the problem; it’s how I manage it that matters. That’s where I need the Holy Spirit’s help. If I ask him, he’ll ‘operate’ in my mind and change my focus. My prayer is that I will accept praise with joy so it will cause me to be fruitful in every area of my life.

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What Will I see on the News?

This morning I turned on my computer and thought, What will I see on the News today? Will the life of someone be forever changed due to an incident that’s happened overnight in a faraway place? 

You may think I’m negative, thinking thoughts like those, but it’s not an unlikely event these days. We don’t have television or buy newspapers, so I rely on my computer for information about the outside world. But on the ABC News page, I can see enough bad things to upset me without additional drama on television.

On this day there was an item that did answer my question: an accident where the life of someone nearby was changed. Two people, actually.

Last night a mother and her 14-year-old daughter were leaving our church property after a parent-teacher interview on the school campus. As they drove onto the highway, a speeding car hit their vehicle and they were transported beyond this world. Their family was reduced to a grieving husband and son. Children who knew the child were left reeling and their teachers very upset.

I couldn’t think how to help them, so I prayed. I’m so glad I have that option; I’ve proved God answers our prayers. It was too late for the victims of this violent accident, but the mourners needed prayer support and I was able to give that.

The family were strangers to me, but others came to give them comfort and help. What a shock for them all. So sudden and unexpected. Only a couple of weeks ago a teacher from the school was making the same manoeuvre at the same place on the road and a truck crashed into her car. She and her children were injured and transported to hospital. It’s the fifth accident there. The crashing sounds can be heard from the church offices and staff run out to the highway to help. First Aid, prayer and a call for an ambulance are quickly offered.

This time it was fatal, so perhaps something will be done about the danger…we hope. A reduction in the speed limit, school signs and other precautions may be implemented, but it’s too late for some people; their lives have changed. The authorities always wait until someone dies before they do anything.

I’m grateful for one thing: they were a Christian family. They came from another country and don’t speak English very well. How lonely they would feel if they were here in our nation without any church family who will support them.

Now I’m praying for the driver of the speeding car. He’s in hospital with severe injuries. I wonder how he feels after driving at 180 kph along a highway. His life has also been changed. He could have died too. He needs God to heal his injuries and he needs comfort from God’s people as well. I’m also praying for his family, especially his parents. They will be devastated and I hope there is someone in their circle who can offer prayers for them. The power of prayer is wonderful.

What sadness, what loss, what grief lurks in the pages of the News. In comparison, the pages of the Bible are a great comfort at times like these – and at all times.

Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes! He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (Good News Bible)

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Getting on with it

‘What do you want to do with the rest of your life?’

This was the question put to us in our Bible Study Group last week. I was interested in the responses from the teenagers, the elderly and the middle-aged…and the ones who tried to dodge the issue with a vague reply! We didn’t get many definite answers.

Later that week, I happened upon more resources relating to this topic. I read an interesting book in which the author suggested we should ask the question this way: ‘What don’t you want to do with the rest of your life?’ He said that people would give lots of responses to that question, and soon they’d know what they did want to do. An excellent solution! It gives guidelines to help us move forward. Sometimes we’re more passionate about what we hate than what we love!

Have you ever asked your child, ‘What did you do at school today?’ I’ve found the most common reply is,  ‘Nothing’. It’s the wrong question! But how many of us continue to ask it every day? Kids at school don’t get a choice about their activities. They’re expected to give it a go; to do it! That’s the way they learn and that’s why they’re at school. People say, ‘I’m not ready yet’, and defer putting pen to paper, fabric under the needle, or brush to canvas. I even heard a man say that he’s not ready to become a Christian…yet, even though he intends to. Imagine if a student told their teacher, ‘I don’t want to try this, I’m not ready yet’.

Then I discovered an article on clarity and how a lack of it destroys creative confidence. The writer cited the way many of us find it difficult to get started on a project. Some creative people keep endlessly researching, others have no confidence in their ability. As for me, I do lots of research for quilting projects and before I know it, I’m inundated with more ideas than I’ll ever use. I think I’m looking for more clarity, but perhaps I’m searching for excuses not to fail!

It might feel more ‘spiritual’ to ‘leave it to the Lord’ about our life’s future activity, but is that the answer to the question? Perhaps we’re afraid of a fatal mistake or never finishing. Well, I wouldn’t have made one quilt if I’d only read about them. I’ve turned out lots of messes; they make great pot mitts! I call it practising! And next time it’s better…even beautiful.

So what do we want to do with the rest of our lives? Are we brave enough to whittle it down to what we can start today? Will we accept some rules that mightn’t look like creativity? Or could we admit what our passions really are, and utilise a few well-tried methods that our forerunners have passed on?

Finally, I found the perfect resource: some words that God said. They’ll be an encouragement, an inspiration, every time we hesitate.

I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they’re going. I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch. These are the things I’ll be doing for them – sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute. Isaiah 42: 16 – The Message Bible

If you’re longing to do it, dive in! God promises to be with us. Let’s tidy up our thoughts, accept the clarity God offers, and go for it!

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