Five Minute Friday: FORGET

What does it take to remember really well? I’m surprised at what I forget – so here’s how I hold on to the good moments.

With apologies for the hiatus… life has been busy for a while, but I’ve found a window of opportunity today to join the #fmfparty and write unedited for 5 mins on a theme sent out by Kate Motaung.  The word-prompt today is FORGET. (You can join in too – here’s how.)

GO

I know a lot of us are going through the events of our lives trying to capture them on a mobile phone camera.  ‘Kodak moments’ might well be captured on a phone, but if we’re honest, we don’t usually go back through them after the event much.  Even then, the picture that was captured doesn’t do the glory of the moment much justice.

Family watching slides projected

Hmmm… we did something like this as a family in the ’70s, but I don’t recall looking quite so 1950s!!!

There is value, of course, in keeping photos to prompt the memory.  In fact, I have a whole decade where there are next to no photos of me… I have very little recollection of that season, partly because I must have been too ill, or too depressed to want to remember it.  A colleague (and someone I happened to have been at Uni with) recently brought a photo from that season in for me to see.  I hadn’t seen a picture of myself from that season – ever – and it was shocking to see me staring back at me.  Yes, I had lived through that season.  Yes, look at me, surrounded by happy friends, smiling myself, sharing a laugh.  It wasn’t all bad. For some reason the negative of that tough season of life had swamped out the joy that had been there all along.

I am now keeping a little notebook and write a couple of sentences in it every day: what went well today?  What was happy or beautiful?  What grace and good didn’t I deserve?  What joy surprised me?  There’s always something to note.  And I deliberately choose not to note all the things I’d rather hadn’t happened.  It’s a way of ‘holding onto the good‘, and choosing what I want to remember in future.

But there’s one more thing.  Sometimes we forget that our own souls are like old-skool camera film.  The experiences of joy and sorrow do impress themselves forever on our hearts, just like photos were captured on the film negative.  If we are truly living vulnerably, with a childlike openness to the joys and pains of life, our hearts and souls are living with a wide aperture, capturing and remembering the full picture.

Who needs a phone full of skew-wiff photos, when our hearts are so good at remembering the beauty and intense sorrows of life so vividly?  It’s all beautiful, the good and the bad… and maybe we’ll sit through the eternal slide-show when we get to heaven, seeing and celebrating our lives with a rounded, and joyful, and heavenly perspective.

 

STOP

 

 

 

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Five Minute Friday
Five Minute Friday: SEASON

Five Minute Friday: SEASON

How long is this season of suffering going to last? In one sense, we do know.

Once again I’m taking five minutes with the Five Minute Friday #fmfparty gang to write unedited on a theme sent out by Kate Motaung.  The word-prompt today is SEASON. (You can join in too – here’s how.)

GO

Sundial in Sand‘How long, O Lord?’  My whining heart makes the minutes turn to hours, simply through my impatience.  I try to impose my will on the Creator of the Universe, and when he doesn’t work to my timetable, I criticise him and his judgment.  ‘Hurry UP!’, my heart complains.

While I wish everything around me would straighten up according to my pain-evasive wishes, I fail to see that there’s something else going on in the wait.  A quiet, revolutionising transformation.

In much the same way that rocks deep in the earth, under immense pressures and unique strains, change carbon to diamond, my own character is in the throes of a stress-induced transformation.  God’s primary purpose isn’t to make my life easy, but to make me shine sparklier… with the glory of His Son.

Why would I object to this?  Why would I cry at the pain of the tribulation, the troubles which seem so fickle, random and meaningless?  The miracle is that though these seasons of trial do seem come to us randomly, God is at work through each one.  We share the troubles that every other person on earth is afflicted with.  Perhaps not in the detail, but in the reality.  ‘You will have trouble in this life.’

For sure, some seasons drag on.  In some ways, through better and worse days, this season of trouble lasts a lifetime.  There’s no point at which we graduate from trouble in life.  But it is just a season.  Just the next few hours, days or decades… and our season on earth is done.

And then comes an experience beyond ‘seasons’.  It’s an encounter that we’ll never complain about.  A place where the tears are gone, and the uncontainable joy has come.  And that’s a season that will never end.  Eternity is impossible for us to comprehend, but that’s where we’re bound.

From that perspective, we’ll be looking back at the troubles which passed in the blink of an eye, our pains and frustrations, our broken dreams and disappointments, our triumphs and failures, all swallowed up in God’s glory, and his eternal love.  At least, by God’s grace that’s where I’ll be.  I know some are still thinking about whether they want to go there on his terms.

STOP

 

 

 

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Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: DWELL

It’s hard to remain – DWELL – in an unnatural environment. The pressures and discomfort tempt us to retreat to what feels more normal to us.  But we are learning to breathe the unnatural air of heaven, so how do we acclimatise to this new and challenging world?

Once again I’m taking five minutes with the Five Minute Friday #fmfparty gang to write unedited on a theme sent out by Kate Motaung.  The word-prompt today is DWELL. (You can join in too – here’s how.)

GO

A submersible sinks slowly through the murky waters, silently.  And inside it’s claustrophobic, even though you can see out the window.  There’s not a lot of room for manoeuvre.  But you sink, sink, sink.  Beneath the froth and turbulence of the surface waves.  Far below the raging storms and winds above.  Lower and lower you sink.  Slowly, you sink.

The light fades.  You peer into the darkness, straining to see what’s out there.  In the absence of light, you fear… you’re unsure of impending threats. You’re vulnerable.  You can do nothing but sight tight, and wait.

The pressure in the stillness increases, your reliance on the clear perspex bubble that surrounds you increases.  You don’t let yourself think about the sounds as the craft creaks under the strain.  If that barrier cracks, you know it’s over.

You breathe deeply, trying to calm your nerves, as you slip slowly below.  Piped oxygen/air sustains you in this most unnatural environment.  Your life hangs in the balance as you sink into the still, strange waters.

You are held, and supported.  You can do nothing but rest and be sustained.  You can see nothing but inches ahead, and must trust implicitly.

This environment is the deep waters.  Strange and wonderful things dwell here.

And when sinking into the depths of God’s love, we find that’s also a strange environment to us too.  We are called to dwell there – in the Deep WELLs of God’s love.  But the psalmist cried out in fear as he sank deeper, and the ‘deep called to deep’ in the waters of God’s presence in his life.  It’s not a journey for the faint-hearted.

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction.

STOP

7I hear the tumult of the raging seas
    as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
    and through each night I sing his songs,
    praying to God who gives me life.  – Psalm 42

 

 

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Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: Bacon

Bacon?  The word prompt this week is bacon?  Once again I’m taking five minutes with the Five Minute Friday #fmfparty gang to write unedited on a theme sent out by Kate Motaung.  The word-prompt today is already making my mouth water. (You can join in too – here’s how.)

GO

I choke a little at the dust flying in the air, as the entire herd of pigs stampedes toward the rickety fence by the cliff edge.  Pete’s face was priceless.  And then there was that other guy, the one clutching his staff like it was a life-preserver.  He’d gone white as a sheet.  I could see his mind running down to the bottom line – in one moment out of business and out of any reasonable explanation for the catastrophe.

I though he was going to cry.

But there was no need.  Someone else was already crying.  Crumpled at the feet of the Teacher was a raggedy bloke, bawling his eyes out with joy.  Every now and then he gasped, as if the air he now breathed was pure fresh air, not the stinking cloud of pig-wreck we were coughing on.  this was a drowning man breathing again.  A sunken soul miraculously floating on joyful euphoria.

STOP

And so, in my sunken state today, I’m wondering what sort of carnage will result when God steps into my disasters and causes a bit of chaos.  It might be messy, but there could be a tasty breakfast ahead too…

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Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: SAME

When will I ever change?  When will this awful circumstance change?  This suffering, trauma, torment – it seems immovable, tauntingly the same (or worse) every day. Our hearts long for deliverance, and we wait – we ache so deeply for the change…

This week I’m taking five minutes with the Five Minute Friday #fmfparty gang to write unedited on a theme sent out by Kate Motaung.  The word-prompt today is SAME. (You can join in too – here’s how.)

GO

‘Yesterday, today and forever, You are the same, You never change. Yesterday, today and forever, You are faithful and we will trust in You.’

That’s good news, right?  But what kind of pleasure is there in being with someone that constant?  Where’s the interest, the journey, the sense of progress or discovery?  Isn’t a relationship with someone so unchanging boring?

I guess that could be the case, if the Unchangeable I AM were a human.  But he’s not.  He’s Eternal, unfathomable.  The angels circling his throne cry, ‘holy, holy, holy…’ constantly in awe through all the ages at the mystery and wonder of his nature.  Not just about what he does… new things every morning (because he’s unchangingly Creative), but about who he is (because he IS love, eternal, patient, unfailing love).

So… the light of His unchangeable, same-ness reflects upon me.  Fickle, unsteady, flippity doodah.  The one thing that seems to stay the same about me is my failure.  That I still love the wrong things or have my hopes and securities set on the wrong people or the wrong aspirations.  My heart seems to unchangingly ache for other. That’s the same.  When will my heart rest happily in Him alone?  When will I change?

Ah… but there’s a promise for me… and for you:

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Yes.  We will not stay the same.  We will all be changed…

STOP

 

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Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: FIND

This one’s about that moment you think you’re really really lost, and then turn a corner…

This week I’m taking five minutes with the Five Minute Friday #fmfparty gang to write unedited on a theme sent out by Kate Motaung.  The word-prompt today is FIND. (You can join in too – here’s how.)

GO

I’m asking God right now ‘help me to find the words…’ I know that I have something sitting in my gut, in my heart, something I want to express.  But how to put it out there in a way that will be helpful, encouraging, useful?

It’s been an amazing journey, participating with FMF and discovering that we do all find the words to say, somehow.  They’re not perfect, not always eloquent.  But they’re authentic.  They’re unique.  We each have a different voice, and find different words and angles on the weekly theme.  Every week… loads of uniquely different posts over at Kate’s around the one theme.

I think what I am reaching to communicate today is this thought: How strange it is to discover, after years of striving, that we are indeed exactly where God had intended for us to be by now, all along.  You know that experience when you’re travelling in a fairly familiar town, and then take a new road, and then drive round a bend and come out at a junction you know well from a different angle?  Oh! I’m here!

I found myself exactly there in prayer this morning.  It was a sort of ‘finding out where I was’ from a different angle – or, more honestly, discovering that I myself had been found – by God.

It’s just I hadn’t – for years – realised how found I was.  Or how close I was to my intended destination… and here I am, having come to it from a totally different angle, and my arrival at this juncture was quite a surprise! How did I get here?

STOP

It’s a common experience to feel anxious when we’re really lost.  Psychologically we feel miles and miles from home, even if we’ve only got another few streets to go before we know where we are, and realise how close to home we really are.  Finding our way can be like that – the experience of being lost goes to the deepest fears and anxieties any of us harbour.  But we’re never lost, never. God knows where we are.

In him we live and breathe and have our being.’ Acts 17:28

‘I will ask the Father and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever’ – Jesus, John 14:16

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Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: HERE

Will you stay here?  Just for a moment?

This week I’m taking five minutes with my Five Minute Friday #fmfparty friends to write unedited on a theme sent out by Kate Motaung.  The word-prompt today is HERE. (You can join in too – here’s how.)

GO

It may take us five minutes to write, but it usually takes our readers less than five minutes to scan through, and find some words to comment with. ‘Many words mark the speech of a fool.’ (Ecclesiastes 5:3).

So today I’m going to make a challenge. I will spare you the burden of my many words.  Instead, I invite you to stay here – right here with this blog, and these words – and sit for five minutes.  Encounter God.

“Be still, and know that I am God!
    I will be honored by every nation.
    I will be honored throughout the world.”

– Psalm 46.10

 

 

Here and Now, Paul Baloche.  From the Album ‘A Greater Song’

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Five Minute Friday