A prayer for my friends who mourn.

May your spirit groan.

Because sometimes you sit idly by and watch as life throws an excruciating fire ball of despair at another that burns so deeply you wonder if they will ever recover.

You watch helplessly as hearts and souls are torn slowly to shreds as a remorseless evil ravages love, life, family.

And your speech is inadequate, insufficient, vain.

May your spirit groan.

Your feeble brain tries to reason with death, fear envelopes faith as you wonder and doubt and cry out into the silence.

And you fight for the words, for the comfort, for the way.

May your spirit groan.

Your lips taste the bitter sting of death as you try to say goodbye too soon and resentment and anger and rage build at the injustice.

And you gather to honour, to celebrate, to mourn.

May your spirit groan.

As you gather may your spirits groan together in hope. May his spirit fall on you, and restore you, and bless you and fortify you and bond you. May you know peace in your pain and hope in your spirit.

 

Romans 8:22-25 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

 

Mum

Mum

Hiding behind the curtain I could hardly contain my excitement. I slipped the metal buckle over the metal button, pulled it up tight and looked in the mirror. Denim overalls. My first pair. Mum had taken me to the Levi’s store after work, what a treat! I stroked my finger over the pocket tracing the outline of the grasshopper that sat proudly on the front of my new overalls. I loved them! I was worried that they were too much, so I set my excitement aside and pulled back the curtain.

Mum knelt down and made a few adjustments to the buckle. She smelled like a perm. Mum always smelled like a perm because she was a hairdresser. Mum put her hands on my shoulders and smiled. Mum seemed to be happy that she could buy the overalls with the money she earned doing people’s hair. Mum could tell I liked the grasshopper and we started to plan how I could tuck the legs into my brown boots and wear my red T Shirt underneath.

Mum stood up and unclipped the little bulbs that pressed against each other to hold her purse together and gave her bankcard to the lady at the counter. We were getting the grasshopper overalls!

I quickly changed back into my old jeans that were getting too small and smiled at how much Mum loved to buy nice things for me. I knew she worked hard and that we didn’t have much money.

Mum, my provider

 

My brother Martin says it’s called a joystick. Seems like a good name. Mum dragged the cane lounge chair across the slate tiles so it was close to the television and the joystick could be plugged in. Mum sits with her knees up and her feet on the edge of the chair, her toes keep curling under, biting the foam of the chair as she wiggles the joy stick. Mum can’t believe her eyes. When she moves the joy stick the bug on the screen moves around a maze. Mum thinks this is almost unbelievable. How does this stick make something on the screen move? Mum laughs and squeals as the bug in the maze is chased by a second bug. Mum’s laughs make everyone laugh. Mum is good at laughing and doesn’t seem to mind when we are laughing at or with her. Mum fills my days with laughing. I love Mum.

My brother decided he could make Mum really laugh. He spent some time reading his computer manual and then wrote something on the screen I couldn’t understand, then he called Mum and got her to sit on her cane chair in front of the television, my brother's computer plugged in and at the ready.

The screen said

“What’s your name”

Mum typed in “Janet”

As soon as Mum pressed ENTER the computer screen displayed…

“Hello Janet”

Mum dropped the joystick and started to cry! I thought this was weird because we wanted her to laugh, but then Mum started squealing and waving her hands in the air! Mum said “How does it know my name?”

Dad started to laugh and hug Mum’s head. Dad loves the way Mum feels things out loud.

Because Mum is good at laughing my brother and I like to spend time thinking of ways to make Mum laugh, like sticking Mintie wrappers in the back of Mum’s hair when we go for a drive in the car and letting her walk through the shops, or pretending to be a mozzie from the other room so she goes looking for fly spray, or calling on the phone and hanging up just before she picks up.

Mum taught me how to laugh, and when I get a nervous tummy or feel sad I remember to laugh, thanks to Mum.

Mum, My joy

 

I scraped my brown school shoes along the path and slung my bag up onto my shoulder, careful to only use one strap, because using both straps of your school bag is really not ok. I pulled my plastic bus pass out of my summer uniform pocket and stared down at Michael Jackson. Michael would never carry a bag with both straps, he only wore one glove! I tapped my finger on Michael's face and waited for the bus. It is also not ok to speak to other people at the bus stop, but for some reason some of my fellow travellers were whispering and murmuring with muffled voices. I heard one of them say.. “Look at the Woman over there…. She has PURPLE hair!”

What? Surely not. I turned my gaze to try and catch a glimpse of this woman who had created such a stir, and found she was walking towards me.

“Hi Honey, I thought you would like a lift today”

Mum.

The kids at the bus stop stood and stared, incredulous.

I turned towards Mum who was looking at me mischievously. I silently put my bus pass back in my pocket and walked with Mum as her purple crowning glory worked its way through the crowd. After a few paces I felt the corner of my mouth creep up into my flushed cheeks as admiration and appreciation for Mum’s zest filled the air. Mum lives life loud, Mum’s flame burns bright.

Mum helps me to burn bright too.

Mum, My light

 

I don’t like it when Mum cries. Mum is generous and fun and happy but somewhere deep inside Mum she has a sore. Like maybe one time she was pierced with a sword that left a hole. Mum is good at helping me when I have a sore, but for some reason her sore has become part of Mum. Mum has some sores from her Mum. Sores that are hard. Sores that are unfair, and unjust. Sores that live forever. But Mum gave her sores to God and he helps her when her sores hurt.

Mum is good at making a home, not just because she makes yummy dinners (except for that mushroom soup!) and always has a clean house, but because I always feel safe with Mum. Mum loves me. Mum didn’t give me any sores like her Mum, in fact, she gave me a big, full, confident heart.

I Love Mum

Mum, My heart

 

Today my Mum turns 70. What a glorious ride we have had together so far!

Mum, thank you for being my provider, my joy, my light and my heart. I love you.  - Bec

Empty

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I eventually gave up on sleep.

My heart ached with emptiness as I went about my morning routine. I had hoped a new day would bring respite from the events of days past.

I felt completely empty, an unquenchable thirst had drained me, despite my attempts to console myself, leaving me barren.

I went outside to water the garden when a crisp cool breeze surprised me as it blew past, lifting the suffocating heaviness from the air. I lifted my head to see a crowd gathering down the street.

I dropped my water jug and ran towards them, desperate for something, someone to offer me respite from this vacuous affliction.

I crouched beside one woman who was relaying the most unbelievable story.

She said the man was no longer in the tomb. She said the man we had killed had risen from the dead!

My mind refused to believe it. That’s impossible, and yet she was sure of it. As she shared her story of the man they call Jesus something inexplicable happened, the pit of emptiness I had been carrying inside me started to lighten.

The tomb was empty.

And somehow this man, through his death and resurrection, had brought peace to me, a kind of peace that is beyond my understanding. As I listened my thirst began to be quenched!

I knew at that moment that I needed to know more about this man. I needed to talk to people who knew him, who know him! I needed to ask them how I can know him too because it seems he can reach into my ravenous void of restlessness and bring me peace.

Who is this man?

Jesus.

 

Jeremiah 29:13 .  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

#tryalpha

Thirst

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I’m not a morning person at the best of times, but the next morning I woke up feeling desolate, empty, parched.

The day before I sat for hours waiting for the darkness to lift, clinging to a rock, I lay on the ground as the earth shook violently.

And then it was over.

The man died, the man they call Jesus.

I still tremble when I think of it. I decided to shake it off, embrace a new day hoping I could put the man’s gruesome death behind me. I made myself a cup of tea to calm my nerves.

I tried to keep busy but my day felt empty, in fact, the more I tried to fill it up, the emptier it felt. It’s as though my soul was groaning, I felt incomplete, like a part of me that I couldn’t identify had been torn from me, I was thirsty, desperately thirsty.

I went out into the street hoping to escape my solitude. As I walked I saw men kneeling on the ground, beating their chests in anguish. The mood was sombre and I started to feel afraid.

What had we done?

What was this unquenchable thirst that had come over me?

I sought solace with a group of women who were gathered nearby. They were saying that this Jesus was the son of God and that he was being buried in a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea.

I couldn’t believe my ears, how could this man be the son of God, and if he was why didn’t he save himself?

I couldn’t sleep at all that night, I lay awake, hungry for answers and afraid that I might have to endure this ravenous void in my soul for the rest of my days.

Who was this man?

The Thief

I don’t normally walk up the hill, partly because it’s a rotting cesspit of death, and partly because it’s a hill and no one needs my calf muscles to get larger.

But I did today.

You could smell it well before you saw it. Dead flesh, maggots, years of human blood, layer upon layer, drying in the sun like decoupage from hell.

I don’t know why I went, only that the story of this man was too compelling. I wanted to see him for myself.

I followed the crowd, some seemed to be in an excited frenzy as if death had crept into their soul with writhing anticipation. Others were full of fear and uncertainty, astonished that this man was to be executed. What had he done? Why didn’t he save himself?

I shuffled along, somehow buoyed by the crowd, over rocks, and through the overgrown weeds. As I came to the top I lifted my skirt and worried that my shoes would never recover from walking through the trash and filth. I covered my mouth as flies started to swarm around me and the air became think and dark, as if death was taking possession of life with sly suffocation.

My stomach churned as I came to the summit. I couldn’t see him at first, a hefty crowd surrounded him. I squeezed my way through, my morbid fascination drawing me towards him.

I should have stayed home, perhaps.

My foot crunched beneath me and I looked down to see myself standing on the bones of others that had gone before him.

Golgotha.

I pushed on and stepped up onto a rock to see him.

And I did.

There were three of them, hanging like meat in a butcher’s shop from putrid logs of wood soaked in blood, vomit and human waste. They were pinned there with well worn nails, straight through their hands and feet.

I vomited.

I looked away, and as I did I heard one of them say “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”

I swung around, keen to hear the man’s response.

Surely he will tell him it’s too late for him, he is a thief, he deserves his fate. Or perhaps he will ignore him, choosing to preserve each painful breath, to prolong his life, to keep his final moments for himself.

I’m still reeling from what he said.

He pushed up against the nail in his feet, giving himself a brief moment of breath from his lungs and in agony and compassion he whispered these words of comfort.

“Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.”

Who is this man?

A realisation swept over me and I jumped down from the rock and started to run. Fear followed me as I ran, I tripped and fell to the ground. Tears fell into the dirt as I pushed myself up, willing my legs to carry me home. I scuttled down the hill and fell into the darkness.

The sky enveloped me. Darkness. Separation. Silence.

I waited...

 

 

 

How to be a Christian when you are a Whinging Self Obsessed Prat.

How to be a Christian when you are a Whinging Self Obsessed Prat.

Have a Crack. Turn up, even if you suck at it.

I attend Church every Sunday, so, yay for me. I’m generally hoping, well let’s face it, expecting God to turn up because, you know, where two or more are gathered and all that jazz, so I’ve kind of got him over a barrel there. Cheers God.

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White Label

I’ve been thinking about updating my personal brand.

You know, maximising my potential. Promoting my awesomeness.

So, I did some research and found my starting point.

“What do you wish for people to associate with you when they think of your name?”

Gosh. SO much. I mean first of all, I want people to be thinking about me and my name. A LOT. I want to be a constant in their newsfeed, swishing past with witty posts, deeply engaging content and organic reach that would make a vegan blush.

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It’s not what you might say that scares me, it’s that you might say nothing at all.

This statement has been rumbling around in my head for a few months. Quietly clever prose that I stored away ready to share when I had discovered some eloquent framework to hang it on. A punch line so to speak.

Blogging gold.

A punch in the guts to a God who at times seems so silent I feel as though I’m underwater, caught in a vacuous rip of forlorn hopelessness.

Because he’s not always the most chatty fellow.

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It's My Birthday and I'll Cry if I Want To

The day of my birth, no doubt a glorious day in the history of mankind, is to be celebrated this day.

As one reaches… lets say… the later years… birthday thoughts change.

Birthday thoughts, birthday wishes, once consumed with party dresses and gift analysis, waft towards reflection and introspection.

I’ve had some great birthdays. Like the time my new pet bird Misty Blue escaped his cage 30 mins after my parents gave him to me. Or the time Mum decided to book me into the dentist to have 4 teeth removed on my birthday… because one can’t have crowded gums on their birthday. Perhaps my favourite birthday was my 40th, when I told my husband not to buy me a gift or make a fuss… so he didn’t.

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Soaring

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Soaring

That’s me.

In the morning my soul is plump and full of promise. In the morning my soul sings ‘Hallelujah’. I stride into my day, expectant. Alive.

I set my Spotify to a random selection of worship songs, desperately hoping it will choose Eagles Wings. I chat to God, I picture myself with a big life, abundant, full, free.

Let’s do this. Let’s soar.

And then. Afternoon. As the sun starts to set, so too doth my spirit. Like a dried up bird poo on my windscreen that once flew carelessly through the air, there goeth my soulful soaring.

I scramble for my phone, willing my Spotify to give me some sort of miraculous revival, I eek out a dry mouthed ‘it is well… with my soul…’ as I sob into my carbonated caffeine.

My souring ceases.

I want to fly through the air like a bird poo! But every day I hit the windscreen and dry up.

Eventually I stumble into the shower and wash away my failings like a wind screen wiper.

Ever hopeful I wake up the next day, ready to soar.

Perhaps I have misunderstood the verse?

Like the Bec paraphrased version says…

Isaiah 40:31 (BPV)

 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar like eagle excrement;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.