Selah. Pause and think.

Three weeks ago I blogged about the bitter sweet nature of Christmas for Christians and it was all tied up (in the mish-mash of my mind) with the sweetness and sharpness of lemon drizzle cake.

I’m not a great baker – there are just two things I do really well, muffins and plain cake. But I do them SO well that Frankie (16 and often hungry) feels obliged to give me a huge hug every time I produce them. So I produce them often. She’s a great hugger. Sort of envelops you in her arms and leans in, so that you’re helpless and gently pressed into the earth…. it’s better than it sounds.

Tomorrow I’m talking to a small group of elderly people in a Care Home and I’ve recycled my blog, rewritten it but using it as a jumping off point, and to illustrate the talk I’m taking along two large lemon drizzle cakes. I made one and it was too brown. Not burnt but just too brown to be a good visual aid. So, we are having to eat that one (Frankie says “Result!”)  and I’ve just taken cake number three out of the oven. As I’ve baked we’ve had Eartha Kitt’s ‘Santa Baby’ belting out, and Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home For Christmas’, and Macca warbling about his Wonderful Christmas Time…. and then there’s ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ and ‘Mary, Did you know?’ and   ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ .

We’ve had a great afternoon, Frankie has new eyebrows (!) and huge eyelashes, we’ve finished wrapping Secret Santa gifts, the crossword is done (cheated only once) and cake aroma wafts through the house. So much to be thankful for.

This blog doesn’t have a huge readership but so far it’s reached 35 countries, and I often wonder what you all make of life here in West Wales, and if my descriptions make any sense at all.  Can you, in Hong Kong or California, the UAE or Malaysia, imagine this septuagenarian and her granddaughter, two sleeping dogs, a Christmas tree, and the rain lashing down as darkness falls?  Here are a couple of images to help;

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And here’s where I write these words

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But tomorrow I will be in that council home, talking to elderly people (many not much older than me) who have had to leave their homes and most of their treasures behind, people who went to live among strangers and who now are vulnerable and frail. If the thought of that, looking around at your own lives, at the freedoms you have, doesn’t make you pause and think and give thanks, I don’t know what will.

And if you have a partner, a husband, a wife, Oh, give thanks. Seriously. Even if you’re furious with him, fed up with her, slamming kitchen doors to make your displeasure known, taking the dog for a walk just to get a break……  give thanks. Bend a bit. It won’t kill you. Be kind. Remember why you love him, remember why you fancy her. And that will please your God. It will.

Sorry. Got carried away. To return to the old people:

Once upon a time, in what feels like a faraway land, families lived close together, and the child who moved away was the exception and not the rule. Now, in relatively remote areas like this, where there’s no industry and greatly reduced farm employment, most children move away. Some return to bring up their families where the air is pure and traffic is light, where crime is rare and community still exists, but many never come back, or return only for holidays. Often,  when a spouse dies,  the surviving partner becomes, overnight, more vulnerable, needing a greater degree of care and oversight, shaken after maybe a lifetime of marriage, a lifetime of another beating heart beside them, the breath of another person, maybe unheeded, but always there. The world changes, the horizon tilts, when death comes.

My husband died when I was 43. I remember lying in bed that night with our daughter beside me, and hearing a strange chink-chink sound, through the pillow. I held my breath, listened, there it was. When I moved it seemed to stop. When I lay still, it returned. And then I realised,  we were both as rigid as wood, deep in shock, ice cold and trembling, and the bed was trembling with us. That week I developed shingles. Bereavement is an emotional, spiritual and physical thing.

At 43 I had time, strength and the resources to adapt. But lose your husband or your wife when you’re already old, frail, already struggling, already isolated from your family, already fearful, and it’s a disorienting, bewildering, emotionally catastrophic loss.  No wonder so many move to Care Homes.

These then are the people I’ll be talking to tomorrow. Some will be struggling with dementia and depression while some will be content with the kindness of the carers and the security of their sheltered lives. Some have known Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour and some haven’t. For some, the days drag and they are ready to slip away, but some long for yet more days, for another go on the merry-go-round. Some are, quite simply, homesick and heartsick. How to talk to them? How to avoid being patronising and yet keep it simple? How to give them encouragement and something to think about, to get their teeth into, without boring them rigid? How to meet them on the road we all walk along and link arms and recognise in each other’s eyes, ourselves? Ourselves in a few years maybe. How to say the truth in love?

How to say ” You matter. You are important. You are loved. You are a part of God’s plan”, how to say that? How to say that when they must sometimes feel irrelevant and disheartened ? How?

I have no flipping idea how to do that.

So, I turn to the one who walks beside me. The Paraclete, the God of all creation, “Lord, look at your children, these tired, aching children, with whole lifetimes behind them, wisdom and folly, great things and foolish, tears and laughter. Lives I can’t even start to imagine. What can I show them that life hasn’t already shown them?”

And God whispers “You can show them nothing. But I can show them everything.”

So I’m leaving it up to Him. And the Christmas story. And some cake.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Want To Be A Little Ship

My Dad would sometimes scream in the middle of the night. It was a short sound, quickly muffled, and followed by the murmur of my stepmother’s voice… a distant  cough, feet shuffling on the bedroom floor, and then the house would settle back into silent darkness.

In the second World War Dad was a foot soldier in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, an Infantry Regiment with a great history stretching back to the Battle of Waterloo. But Dad didn’t fight in any victorious battles, and the only advance he ever made into another country was turned back in defeat. His night-time screams, years later, were echoes of that defeat.

Gerard Gannon was one of the thousands of soldiers who had marched through France and Belgium in an attempt to hold back the fearsome advancing German Army.  War had been declared in September 1939 and barely 8 months later Germany had consolidated its grab of Poland and now was invading Belgium, heading to France.  Britain wasn’t in the same war-fit state as the Nazi regime, which had been militarising for years, and our soldiers slogging through the lanes of Northern France were no match for the tanks and planes of the German nation. The armies of Britain, Belgium and France (America looking the other way, fingers in ears, la-la-la) were beaten back to the port of Dunkirk; Thousands and thousands of men were stranded for days on the beach and in the harbour, strafed by German war planes, the bombardment of tanks coming ever nearer. Dunkirk harbour could take only one warship, and the beach was too shallow and sloping to allow large ships to anchor, so the remnants of three armies, three hundred and thirty eight thousand men, were pinned down, helpless. That’s when Churchill broadcast a plea for help, from anyone who had a boat, and that’s when terrible defeat turned into a valiant defiant miracle;

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This is a photo from Dunkirk. Imagine the smell of the smoke and the fires, the noise of the stukkas as they screamed out of the grey skies to deliver death, imagine the cries of the dying, the shouts of confusion, the desperate prayers…. imagine.

My Dad had two days of that. Nowhere to hide, no shelter to be had, as the German planes made run after run along the beach, guns blazing, sand, bone, blood and flesh exploding … no wonder that sometimes, in the middle of the night, years later, he was back there.  He returned from Dunkirk with a hole through his battledress trousers – a bullet hole – but physically unharmed. His generation didn’t talk about PTSD. How could they? They had a country to rebuild, families to support, this nation of men who had seen things that should not be seen, done things that should not be done. If PTSD had been acknowledged and treated we would have had a nation of invalids, dependants, broken men. So, they pretended that they weren’t broken. Blanked it out. Carried on, regardless. Such pretence and such damage, to them and to the next generation.

But that’s not what I’m thinking about today – today I’ve been thinking about the small ships, some of them barely more than rowing boats with tiny outboards, river launches better suited to a day at the regatta, day boats and yachts…. men and women who had no part in the war, often too old to be called into military service, who took their boats out across the channel, heading into hell on earth, seeing the confusion and clamour of war up ahead and pressing on into it, to save souls. Sorry, to save lives. Imagine the sight as they neared the beach….. today I’m thinking of their bravery.

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And I’m thinking about my Dad too…. did he pray? He had been educated at a seminary, trained for the priesthood, in these awful days of fear and exhaustion, did he turn to God? A young father, with a five month old son back home…. surely he prayed? I was born years after Dunkirk, and the Dad I knew didn’t speak of God, and certainly didn’t pray. But maybe, back then, in the heat of battle…

As I grew up, he didn’t talk about the war at all but when something came on the TV or radio about the small ships, he would say some thoughtful thing about the bravery of those rescuers. He was so mindful of their courage and so appreciative.

I wish that I’d spoken to him about bravery. He was a man’s man, and he could have talked  about that in a way that he could never talk about love. But bravery sometimes is love and we could have shared an unspoken code. I wish that I had said to him “Dad, those men and women were wonderful risking their lives to rescue you, but there’s someone who did more than risk His life. He gave His life. He walked into His death, into pain and shame and fear and horror, knowingly, willingly, because you needed rescuing and you couldn’t save yourself. He was born to die for you.”

I wish that I had said that. He would have understood that. I think he would have let even me talk about bravery, and he might, just might, have listened.

Dunkirk was a great lesson to Britain. When all seems lost, there is hope. And hope may come from the most unexpected quarters. It may come from shabby little boats and old weak people. Today’s defeat may be the next best step towards victory. When those thousands of men returned home there was a renewed sense of unity and determination in Britain. The bully boys might be bigger and stronger and more brutal, but they will never win. Even when they are celebrating victory, they are in the middle of defeat.

Even today, maybe even more so today, evil can be oppressive and disheartening, but it will never win. There are thousands, countless thousands, of souls to be saved. Individually we are small battered craft, unfit for purpose, buffeted by the tides and sometimes daunted by the sights up ahead, but we’re on a rescue mission. God is the wind in our sails and the fuel in our engines, God is our Commander-in-Chief, the battle is His, right is His,  and the victory is His. All we have to do is listen and obey.

Keep a straight course, never mind how small and shabby we are, how high the waves, how fierce the enemy, how hopeless the task ahead, it’s not us who will win the battle, it’s God.

Psalm 44:5- 8 (it’s taken me ages to find this, it was lurking at the back of my brain and google was no help, so do please read it! The bold print is mine)

Through you we push back our enemies;
    through your name we trample our foes.
 I put no trust in my bow,
    my sword does not bring me victory;
but you give us victory over our enemies,
    you put our adversaries to shame.
 In God we make our boast all day long,
    and we will praise your name for ever.

Our brave God, our courageous Jesus, walking into the jaws of death for me.

 

Perfidious Albion

I’ve been thinking about names. There are new ones springing up every day, Chenise and Shyla and, well, just about any sound you can make…..  there are some funny ones and some that are a little bit unfortunate. When I was pregnant I was discussing names with  another woman in the clinic. Her little girl, she told me, was going to be called Perfidia. I was a bit stunned, asking why she had chosen that one. “It’s a song” she explained “And I love it.” In fact, it’s a song I knew really well, a Glenn Miller classic, all about infidelity. I started tentatively, something like “The French call Britain ‘Perfidious Albion’, don’t they?” She didn’t know so I enlarged “They call us that because they say we’re treacherous.” She wasn’t concerned. Finally I came out with it, straight and unvarnished “Perfidious means lying, deceitful, unfaithful. When someone’s caught in a betrayal, they can be called Perfidia, like in the song.” She shrugged… made no difference… she liked the name. I gave up. So there’s some poor woman in Derby, about 42 years old now, and I bet she feels sympathy every time she hears Johnny Cash sing ‘My name is Sue, how do you do? Now you’re gonna die!”

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Here’s Perfidious Albion with his left hand in the pocket of the dying poor.

I was named after my Mum’s sister. Aunty Lucy spent most of her adult life in Winwick  Asylum (yes, we really did call it that) coming out for maybe a couple of months every year when her condition was less disruptive, but after a few weeks the euphoria and delusions would start to emerge and before too long the ambulance would turn up and off she’d go again, waving happily as if she was off to Blackpool in a charabanc. My brother Peter and me just loved her. She was the one person in the family we could relax with. Her parents had left her their tiny cottage in Mundy Street, a two minute walk from where we lived, so although committed for all her adult life she was the only house owner in the whole family! Her mental illness was wild and wonderful, really it was. She was a happy soul, very rarely upset, always looking forward to something, crazily generous (although she owned nothing) and she loved the communal society of the hospital, the nurses and the routines. And they loved her. She was a woman content with her lot. She had pink cheeks and wild hair, and when she was free of the hospital uniform (sacks, really, communal and shapeless) she wore pretty and ridiculous clothes found in jumble sales, dresses better suited to a five year old, ribbons in her hair, huge handbags with clanking golden handles and clasps. A colourful character in the drab 50’s.

One year she was home at Christmas and when Peter and I went to see her she produced a bottle of Advocaat (egg nog, a mix of cream, brandy and honey, a sort of very very potent custard). It was, she told us, really good for us, full of good stuff, and indeed we loved it. It was like melted ice cream. I have very vague memories of singing and laughing and being a bit dazzled. Peter was 12 and I was 7. We had tumblers of the stuff so the singing and laughing was probably quite short-lived. On the way home I was horribly sick in someone’s front hedge and Peter vomited violently on a Royal Mail letter box. The yellow advocaat on the scarlet metal made a startling image, seared into my brain even now.  The people we lived with were all heavy drinkers, but I’m sure that the sight of a drunken 7 year old, reeling through the door, reeking of booze, covered in custard, dishevelled and confused,  was a bit shocking even for them. We were ill for days.

But we loved her, in a time and place when there wasn’t a lot of love to give or to receive. she gave us just enough to keep us going.

I’m glad I have her name. It means “bringer of light” and Lucifer was the brightest angel of them all before his terrible fall from grace, that’s why matches, way back in the first world war, were called Lucifers. Here’s a steal from Dr Dan Rhodes: ‘Lucifer became so impressed with his own beauty, intelligence, power, and position that he began to desire for himself the honour and glory that belonged to God alone. This pride represents the actual beginning of sin in the universe—preceding the fall of the human Adam by an indeterminate time.

If Dr Rhodes is right…. and he might be….. my name commemorates the origins of sin in the whole blinking universe….. so you know that woman called Perfidia?  She’s got it dead easy.

There was another Lucy, Saint Lucy, an early martyr. It’s her feast day on 13th.

 

 

Prayer hurts. Sometimes.

Here’s something that I have just this minute realised. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say here’s something that has –  just this minute – been made real to me: the best gift, sometimes the most expensive and sacrificial gift, and yes, sometimes the easiest and most accessible gift, that I can give to anyone is a prayer. Or many prayers. My prayers. My heart.

Thoughts that flit into your mind without any preparation are pretty amazing. Today I’ve been a bit pre-occupied and distracted by prayer, in amongst all the ordinary stuff of life. I was super glueing ‘no parking ‘signs  (my days are full of zany what-the-hell stuff like that) and being really careful not to stick myself to the table, when it just came to me “The cost of prayer is the gift you give, day in and day out, for the people you love.”

Prayers aren’t the gift. The gift is the cost of those prayers. I can stand on the edge of the sea and burble a great long shopping list of prayers every morning, babbling like the heathen. Loadsa words. Some quite long ones. I can dot them with thees and thous and Bible verses. Easy. That’s not a gift to anyone. The cost of prayer, that’s the gift. The meaning and the heart break of prayer. The desperation.

It’s the gift I can give to those I love, the gift I can offer to God, but most of all it’s the gift He gives to me. Prayer is His gift to us. It’s our time beyond the curtain, in His presence, intimate, honest, real. Our private audience – what a stonking gift that is!

Prayer costs. It can bring us to tears, sometimes tears of joy, praise  and wonder, yes, of course,  but sometimes we weep in desperate earnestness, caring, sorrow, contrition. Bloody hell, the world we live in, the world from which we launch our prayers – how can we not weep? When our vision clears in quiet committed moments of prayer, and we see the world for what it is…. Flip me! Lord, look at us! Look at the state of us! No wonder we can’t always come before you in calm and logical reason. Look what we’ve done to the world, the perfect creation of God, the milieu You called ‘good’.

Look at how we fail Him. Over and over. How then can anyone always come before our God in perfect peace?

So, just like you, I don’t. Sometimes, yes, but not always. It’s a hushed and sacred prayer when we come before God in peace and calm and joy. Unspeakably wonderful. But man, when the experience of prayer is different, when it’s amazing and heart breaking and sharply real and dazzlingly shocking …. when we look up and see Him in all His glory and love, and recognise in those moments, our own utter dependance and vulnerability, and – of ourselves – our inadequacy. The poor witness we give, the slap-dash service, our tepid love. That’s a stunner.

I have several friends, blog readers, who like to put things right, to level stuff out, fill in the potholes of my reasoning. Comforters who always comfort, teachers who always teach, correctors who correct. I love you all. I do. Mostly. But listen, it’s OK to be brought to tears by prayers, it’s OK to be heart broken when we look on our God and then on the world, it’s more than OK to be moved by a sense of our own inadequacy, to be distressed by our half hearted commitment, our lack of devotion and woolliness of purpose. Don’t misunderstand me: I do not despair. I don’t.

Despair has no place in the life of Christ.

I don’t like grabbing a verse out of context and brandishing it at you, but here I go… it’s my go-to book, Isaiah 22:4

Turn away from me;
    let me weep bitterly.
Do not try to console me
    over the destruction of my people.

Here’s the thing, I want to pray on the edge. I’ve been embarrassed recently because  I sometimes weep when we pray. I’ve struggled in prayer meetings and worship because of that. But no more. If I cry, tough. Get over it. I’m happy to weep. It’s not a big noisy thing, a few snotty sniffles… the odd escaping snort…. shouldn’t disturb the world too much.

I don’t enjoy crying. It’s messy and tiring, but it’s honest. And I think it comes from God. The old Luce wouldn’t weep. What, tough, grizzled old walnut-heart Luce? She wouldn’t shed a tear. No way. But now, with Christ in the centre of her heart, sometimes she does. Sometimes.

God wept. As man He wept. We have our emotions and we have our small heart-breaks and we weep. Even as we weep, we hand all our cares to Him, asking only to love Him more, serve Him better, know Him deeper….. asking for more and more and more, and if knowing more of God’s heart brings tears…  well, there you go! Bring ’em on!

You know what? They won’t last for ever:

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.  Revelation 21:4

 

 

 

 

 

Two moments.

At the end of the gospel written by John, jam packed with the words and miracles of Christ,  John writes ‘ Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.’

There are so many paradoxes, wonderful paradoxes in Christianity, and this is one of them.. that the four Gospels, amounting to just over 100 small pages in my Bible, should keep the whole church, all over the world, and through all of history, nourished and encouraged and guided for as long as we all draw breath. Every culture and language and age. And yet, John says, there’s more! There’s loads of other stuff that Jesus did, things that weren’t recorded.

Imagine poor  John, the last of the Apostles, an old old man, remembering and sifting and praying about what he should record, which of the many miracles the Holy Spirit was guiding him to write down, imagine his desire and passion to share with the world the wonder of His friend and Master, his longing to do justice to the greatest story ever told. Imagine how he prayed for guidance, for the Spirit of God to be in his words. What a job he had, that old man.

And the job was perfect, wonderful, better than perfect, miraculous. The inspired words of four men in four Gospels, by the grace of God, changed the world forever. One hundred and ten small pages in my little book.

No life can be recorded fully. Jesus lived over 30 years, and to record every moment would take another thirty, and to read them all would take another thirty, and so the world would grind to a halt, pages rustling, heads bowed, forever reading and never pausing. But the  moments we have, by God’s grace, are enough; amazing miraculous moments, the transfiguration on an ancient mountainside, the small poignancies when Jesus wept, tiny telling gestures ‘Let the children come to me’, a look full of love at the rich young man, patience and gentleness with the adulterer, compassion with the woman who touched his robe, deep affection for Lazarus and his sisters, and we can dream about all the ordinary moments of life that were never written down….  a foot stepping on a dusty road, a fig torn and eaten, eyes shielded against the sun, a laugh, a hug, a hand held out, the smoothing of his beard, a cough as dawn breaks, a sigh as night falls… so many moments we don’t know about. His lifetime in a fallen world. For us.

But I’m thinking tonight of two moments in the story of Jesus, separated by over 30 years, two fundamental, indivisible moments of pure love. I’ve been searching for the word that captures the essence of  unity and I can’t find it.  Surely there’s a word for this? A word that ties together two moments of love and sacrifice so pure that they shattered history and offered eternity to mankind. Two moments,  together powerful enough to rend the heavens, to spin a new star, to darken the sun, to split rocks, to open graves. To save my sinful soul.

Maybe I need an image.. .wine and water once mixed, indivisible… no, that won’t do either.

Words are so useless, when a heart is full. The moment when Jesus was born, and the moment He died, those two moments are breathtaking, heart-breaking, full of joy and sadness and praise. Full of tears. Beautiful.  The nativity and the crucifixion. One truth. Two moments. Our story.

And then the Resurrection.

OK, three moments.

47934720… and counting

Today I’m entering my 72nd year. Much older now than my mother, brothers, and husband were when they died. Much much much older. When we meet in glory I’m going to be the older sister to all of them! How very strange. Only one person in our family has lived longer and that was my Dad who chuntered on into his 90’s.

All very unexpected. Do not treat me like a septuagenarian. Ever! The person inside my skull is usually 18, sometimes 9, and occasionally 85, so her thoughts ricochet wildly from random and immature, to wise and considered, to superficial nonsense. Like a runaway horse. Forget the pigeon hole you might be tempted to put me in – horses bolt from confined spaces and a bolting horse is a terrible thing.

I did a quick google calculator thing and (ignoring leap years,) I have already had 26,280 days. That’s (very) approximately 47934720 heart beats. I don’t know where to put the comma in that number… is 4 million or 47 million or 479 thousand, or what? Who know? It’s a whole lot anyway.

Another google site says your heart beats 42 million times in a year. By that reckoning my heart has beaten two thousand nine hundred and forty billion times. That can’t be right.

But anyway, it beats.

Why? According to the RC catechism (great swathes of which pop into my head unbidden):

Q: Why did God make you?

A: God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in the next. 

That’s a strange way of putting it, and somehow it misses out the whole point of our existence. I have some sympathy with Friedrich Nietzsche, who said “I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time” , sympathy because the picture of a creator who demands praise all the time is a picture of a needy,  self-centred despotic god. Small g.

My God, the God I worship and walk with, the one in whom ‘all things hold together’, made me because He loves me. He loved me at the beginning of creation, He loves me now, and however bonkers I am, however black and moody and difficult and plain bloody-minded I am at times, He will love me just the same at the end of the world and into the depths of eternity. I knew Jesus as God many years ago, and I believed in Him, and trusted in Him (to an extent) but in the last few years I’ve come to deeper understanding. Someone  in my little church has taught me why God made me and it’s the best truth ever known to man, and has changed everything for me. Everything. I will be forever grateful for that teaching, that patience.

Here’s the catechism according to Luce. No guarantees it’s right, but here it is:

Q: Why did God make me?

A: God made me because He is love, He loves me, and I bloomin’ well delight Him.

When God had finished the creation of the world, after making mankind, we know for a fact that ‘God saw all that he had made and it was very good.’

He is love. Everything He is and does is love. He creates in love. You and me? We are , we ARE, we exist, because of His love.

I am so very grateful not only for His love, but for the knowledge of His love, and I am  beyond grateful for the death of our lovely Jesus on that bloodied cross, for the daily walk with the God of all creation, for His guidance and His safeguarding, for His Spirit in me.

Here’s something that just occurred to me, listen… the death on the cross, wonderful as it was, sacrificial and amazing, true and bloody, it was ALSO a perfect and carefully constructed image for us, a living parable, it was God saying ‘This is how much I love you.’ The sacrificial death on the cross of the Son of God was terrible and real, but it was also an allegory, because with our limited understanding,  our imaginations tethered to what we consider possible, there was only one way to show perfect love to mankind. That way was death. Inevitably.

I’m not saying that the crucifixion was a symbol, or that it wasn’t real in every ghastly agonising way, but it was ALSO the perfect illustration of perfect love.

Our amazing God.

So, for 47934720 or a gazillion million heart beats (who knows?), I thank Him. For all the ups and downs of a chaotic and battered life, I thank Him. Yes, there has been bad stuff in my life, of course there has. But I know that His love, perfect and pure, brought with it no evil or sadness. All of that bad stuff was brought by another and my God of love brought me through it all. Just as He died for love of me, every day and hour and heart beat of my life, He has lived for me. He lives for me today, in my heart. He lives for all of us, for ever, present and active in our lives.

He brought me through every beat of a breaking heart, every beat of a joyful heart, every breath I’ve ever taken,  He has brought me through it all. I’ve had a richer, fuller, wilder, more exciting life than any novelist could dream up.  As a writer, I know that I couldn’t do it justice, couldn’t do Him justice.

And I love Him. Today is my day of praise for my great great God.

At moments like this, thinking of God, praising Him, conscious of his goodness, these are the moments when we are truly and fully alive.

Why did God make me? For moments like this.