Posts Tagged ‘hope’

I have a patchwork quilt I made a couple of years ago. A patchwork quilt is supposed to tell a story. It is supposed to be made of all the special and beautiful and significant fabric that you can find. They are supposed to be carefully and exquisitely designed. Some families have passed quilts down for centuries. Some are made with baby dresses or bits from other blankets. Mine wasn’t.

In some places, prisoners have made patchwork quilts as something to do, and something to teach them the art of sewing. There is a link between captivity and creativity. And those quilts began to restore those prisoners into human beings with purpose and imagination. They now had something to do with the hours of solitude that their confinement gave them. Those quilts also told a story.

Now, I’m not so sure about mine. I used odd bits of fabric that I had, some I bought especially. But I didn’t really believe that I could do it. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to invest lots of money into a project I wasn’t sure I could finish. I didn’t really have lots of money anyway.

Somehow though, that quilt charts a difficult story in my own life. It charts the time  of rejection by my mother (and loss of sewing machine, so needed to be finished by hand). It charts the subsequent year and descent into depression and the dark places. It charts God meeting me there at the bottom of the pit and gradually showing his light into the hole and bringing me to the surface gradually and surely. It charts eventual reconciliation and restoration of a broken relationship, even if it will never be completely perfect. And it looks good on my bed and keeps me warm.

It may not be the finest fabric or a complex design, but my quilt does its job. It tells a story. It reminds me that even when I feel like a prisoner in the darkest place there is hope and creativity and imagination possible. It shows me that I can do it – maybe it isn’t perfect but I made a quilt of my own, and that is a great place to start.

Finally, it demonstrates that even in the darkest places, even at our most hopeless, we still have a story to tell. We still matter. We are made in the image of God, and so we are born to create, elegant or exquisite things or not. And even in the darkest places, we can still believe and trust in the God of hope.

Blah blah blah

Posted: September 21, 2013 in Welcome
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You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet recently. In fact, for lots longer than I intended really. To be completely honest, I wasn’t planning to go silent really. It was just there were a lot of other words going on.

There were words to write, words to think and words to shape. There were powerful words, hurtful words, new words, meaningful words and words from God. There were words to share with others and words that were intimately personal. In short, there were a lot of words happening around me, and I didn’t want to add any more into the mix.

But now things have calmed down a bit, and I want to start again. I may have a new job and a new home as well as a new context and new friends to go with it, but I’d like a fresh go at this blog too. I’d like to keep on writing, but maybe take it to some new places. I want to keep on putting words into the great silence that can descend so easily when I’m not paying attention. I want to put into words the amazing things that God is doing in my life.

So, let’s do this thing. I don’t yet know what it will look like or be like, or how much time there will be in amongst all the other words, but I will attempt to carve some space in amongst them. Because all words matter.

A warning

Posted: March 24, 2013 in Hope, Turning away from God
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I don’t know if you noticed much this winter, but there were a lot of severe weather warnings, and some even continue today. In all its wisdom, the MET office issued “Yellow Snow Warnings”, to warn people that they might get stuck.

I’m not sure if you know this, but yellow snow is definitely something to be worried about. It means that a passing dog has done his business. Basically. So something that we should avoid.

It’s funny really, because snow is so like us, and the yellow bits (or dark grey muddy bits if it is on the edge of a road) are like our sins. We begin as white as snow, but then we screw things up somewhat. What began as pure is totally ruined. And only God can make it better. (Yes, I know, we could argue for days about whether we really did begin as pure, but here I’m mostly thinking Eden days…)

Sin is one of those big bad words which I’m not always convinced we really understand. It feels like one of those “Christian” words that belongs to a bygone age back when people drove around in carriages and said thee and thou. It makes us feel like miserable offenders who can never get anything right or like we need to try to be perfect and never get anything wrong.

But, actually, I am a sinner. And, although I don’t know you, I think it is likely that you are too. How many times have I wandered away from God’s purposes for my life? How many times have I thought horrible things about people? How many times have I decided that I know best (and there is a story of when I was 3 and decided I could swim by myself and jumped into the swimming pool without any armbands…and of course I sank…) How many times have I simply tried to ignore God and pretend he isn’t there?

But because Jesus offers us the hope of forgiveness through the cross and resurrection, I (and you) can be forgiven for this. It is amazing. We can live in hope of grace that we don’t deserve but God gives us anyway. However far we have fallen, or whatever we have done, we can know God’s forgiveness.

However, this does mean I try my best not to screw up, otherwise the grace offered by the cross becomes a joke – I mean, Jesus died so that I could go free. That means that the yellow snow warning comes as a warning to me, to seek after purity and holiness and good. Not to give into the desires that I know will lead me into bad places. And to give sin and all patches of yellow in the snow a very wide berth.

Once upon a time there was a girl. She lived in a world where people were supposed to be different. They were supposed to be nice to one another and care about one another so that other people on the outside might look in and say “Aren’t they nice? I want to be like them!”

She lived with a group of people. Sometimes they asked how she was. Sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes they invited her to play with them or to eat with them, but sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes she would walk in and find them all playing together and no one had invited her. Or they would talk to the others around her and ask them about their lives and not ask her. It was like they would pretend that she wasn’t there. Some days no one would speak to her at all.

At first, it seemed accidental. I mean, you can’t always ask how everyone is can you? And you can’t always ask everyone to eat with you, can you? And you certainly can’t play with everyone all the time. But life got harder on the outside, and it seemed like no one cared. It seemed like the girl had become invisible. And the less that people played with her, the less people seemed to want to play with her, or ask her over for dinner. Or even ask her name.

Invisibility can sometimes be a gift. It can be a good hiding place,  helpful to quietly achieve things in the shadowy background. But sometimes it can be horrible. It made the girl feel like there was something wrong with her, but she didn’t know what that was. It made her feel like she had no value at all, and that there was no point in her even opening her mouth, because no one would listen anyway.

Sometimes it made her angry because no one cared. She knew that they should. Sometimes it just made her sad. Sometimes it made her wish that she was part of another world entirely, because at least then she wouldn’t expect people to care.

And that was when things unravelled. The patterns and habits of the past came back and behaviour and lifestyle changed. Because there was little point in acting like things had changed when no one else seemed to. Self-harm became a temptation – I mean, why not have something concrete that was actually wrong with her?

But then there was hope. Other people said they same thing, and decided to be nice to each other and play together with her and make sure that everyone and anyone was welcome to join in. They ate together, and it became the start of a beautiful friendship. Gradually, other people joined their group and no one felt that they were on the edges. Even those who had ignored her before decided that they had made a mistake and actually she was smart and funny and nice. And other people wanted to be like her.

THE END

Like it or not, God calls us to be in community with one another. We are also called to love our neighbour, whoever that might be. Are there any invisible people in your life, that would appreciate being cherished and valued for who they are? Do you ever feel invisible?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law […] Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 5:22, 6:2).

Just imagine a world where that really happened. Somehow, I don’t think people would be invisible then, would they?

Love letters

Posted: July 14, 2012 in Hope
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Just found this. Amazing. Not sure if I could ever be in that place.

http://sarahbessey.com/in-which-i-write-a-love-letter-to-my-own-body/

One day. And it would be good if it was soon. And actually, I do worship a God of hope, who is bigger even than the lumps and bumps on my body.