Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The last days are here

In the last days,
they will tremble
in awe
of the Lord
and of his
Hosea 3:5b.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Broken and Wet

The past few weeks have been wet ones here in Australia. Rain has been falling on dry, hard earth. Rivers have been unable to carry the amount of water being delivered into them. There have been flash floods, 'inland' tsunamis, rivers rising inexorably. Evacuations and tense waits have been followed by mud-filled floors, stained walls, waterlogged houses. Some floods came so quickly that there are people still unaccounted for.

all these images are of the Queensland floods from

Thousands of homes have been damaged. The clean-up will take months, maybe longer for some. And as our news is filled with progress updates, stories also come of floods and landslides in Brazil. And we look for the stories of hope to calm our fear.

Tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and fear. "Is it the end of the world?", says a friend.

Some are desperate to know, but I'm thankful that's not in my hands to decide.

I find myself, rather, seeing the flimsy fragility of our existence. We build, we gather things, we make homes. We rest our hearts, our hopes and our selves in the midst of things. In an instant they can be washed away or left destroyed and useless.

But on 24 hour coverage of floods, where people who have lost everything are interviewed, their words are fascinating. They speak of people who help, of others who've suffered more, or of determination to live on. They do not eulogise fancy lounge suites or wide screen TVs, or boxes of things. They courageously admit where their real hope lies - in relationships, or communities or in their own fierce-held survival. They are their own victory trophy over disaster.

We know what really matters, and sometimes disasters clarify our view to see it. The one thing we gloss over, though is God. Disasters are 'acts of God', and blame can lie heavy with him. We forget the fact that he is with us in the disaster, too. He sits in precarious places waiting for rescuers to arrive. He sifts through mounds of destruction and helps clean and rebuild. He cleans mud away, he delivers needed food, he listens to traumatic stories. He is present for the clean up and restoration.

Our lives, our achievements, our possessions are like grass, blown too easily away.

But God stands firm - with us, amongst us. His love in destruction brings impossible hope. That despite our transience and fragility, we will live on.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 46:1-3
Joining the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival - Broken

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nurturing Fruit

wild plum

I found them unexpectedly. Three among newly planted daisies, one in the shadow of an overblown rose. One hardy, with a gnarled stem, defiantly at attention in the chook scratched yard. I remembered that chooks hate nightshade plants.

I walked back down the concrete steps, reached up to unhook a trowel, and I rescued them. Rehabilitated them in the vegetable patch. The best tomatoes I've ever grown, and eaten, have begun as upstart orphans. The perfect marriage of persistent stock and neglectful gardening (my art form).

So I find the fruit I want in unexpected places. Perseverence has sprung up next to laziness, and I am determined in my efforts at avoidance and my ability to ignore. I search out my spade and fork, and I dig perseverence clear. I gently lift it over the fence. Cradle it in a shallow hole between patience and faithfulness, and heap the soil around it. I try to remember to water and feed it. I pray. I need to pray it will grow.

I notice a yearning for growth is in the shade of a particularly bitter crop of words. Gaudy flowers of criticism that I pick and use to decorate my table. It's small but I hollow it out, too. A tiny yearning, desire to be more. Transplanted, it may lend a touch of inspiration to my wilting goodness.

There's a long way to go to make a fruitful garden. A lot of rain and sunshine need to fall. Garden with me please.

linked with emily

and ann 

Monday, January 3, 2011


from the Sydney Morning Herald Leunig Calendar 2010.

2011 is here. And New Year blog posts abound. I am fascinated by the idea of naming the year or having a word for the year. I started this blog because I wanted to listen better, and writing about that has prompted me to stop and think more. So my 'one word' has been listen. And I don't want to lose that focus because I know that I've got lots more to discover.

I have discovered that God wants me to listen to people. I have even dared to say that it is part of my life's purpose. That really listening to people is a gift to them, a respect that I can offer. And when life is tough, I know that having someone listen to me, really listen to me, can be a service - like a dinner delivered to my door, or having someone mind my kids when I am completely overwhelmed.

But I would like to think about a word for 2011. It will be a way to connect with other people doing the same thing, and a way to focus my thinking.

So 2011 is going to be my year for completing - I have some work training requirements and an exam to do this year. But complete sounds a little self-satisfied.

2011 is going to be my year for wearing clothes and shoes I buy and put in the cupboard for nice occasions. It is time to stop waiting for the right time to get them out. I'm going to wear them whenever I can. But stop waiting is two words.

2011 is going to be my 40th year, but No.

After considering what 2011 will be for me, I need to commit to do what needs to be done. It will not always be what I like to do, in fact sometimes I may need to postpone the things I like to do, in order to enjoy them better later.

Because I know that I'm a dabbler. I like to start things and find it harder to finish them. I see the pattern in my life of doing too many things and not doing them well. Just getting by.


Commit myself to work hard. Commit myself to love and serve my family. Commit myself to finish what needs to be done. Commit myself to let Jesus live in me, to let his spirit shape me and refine me.