Being Formed as a Little Child

Being Formed as a Little Child

Being formed like a little child is something Jesus wants us to do, but how are we to do this as adults? Perhaps it’s by surrender to the potter’s hand.

Probably the most joyous gift to our family over recent years has been the addition of a new family member. Twenty-two months ago – in May 2019, my daughter gave birth to a beautiful little girl called Eliza.

We have so delighted to see her grow and develop as a beautiful little child.

She is being formed.  Continue reading “Being Formed as a Little Child”

The Healing Nest of Kindness and Compassion

The Healing Nest of Kindness and Compassion

I need a nest that I can call home. Actually, digging down a little further, I need a grouping of relationships that know me, love me, and have compassion and kindness when I get things wrong.

The other day I was pruning a vine and there high above my head was a nest. It had long been vacated. I’m not sure what type of bird built this elaborate structure to raise its young, but as I looked closer, there was an intricate architecture to the design.

Twigs, grasses, moss, lichen all gathered and foraged from around the garden and woven into a home.

Here are some pictures of the nest.
Continue reading “The Healing Nest of Kindness and Compassion”

The Gentle Approach to Heart and Mind Change

The Gentle Approach to Heart and Mind Change

There is a gentle approach to how the heart and mind can change. Instead of the force of a flood, it’s a refreshing rain. Let’s learn to absorb the goodness.

There is something very special to me about a nice soft rain shower in the middle of a dry summer. It soaks in, and the soil receives it as a gift of gentleness.

I have been involved in land-based businesses for many years. Gardening, horticulture, and farming. It’s those sweet, gentle summer rains that bring such refreshment.

Being like a sponge, the soil soaks up every drop. Then the microbes, fungi, bacteria, worms, and all the unseen world beneath our feet are replenished. Seeds germinate, trees flush with newness, and the land feels like it has been gently washed. Continue reading “The Gentle Approach to Heart and Mind Change”

When You Find Yourself in a Dark Hole, Start Digging

When You Find Yourself in a Dark Hole, Start Digging

When you’re in a dark hole, it can feel like there is a loss of hope, but you can dig yourself out with some wisdom and encouragement.

It was a hole that I had fallen into. I was in a deep dark hole where the sun didn’t seem to reach.

That is what a mental illness can be like—All-consuming, overwhelming, and a  ‘blocking out’ of the reality of anything possibly being different. The fog bank is all-consuming.

I was in a hole, but I was not alone. Alongside though were bible characters who had also been in a similar place. Elijah, Moses, David, Jonah, Jeremiah, Job, Naomi, Paul, Peter, Judas, to name the ones that we know of that had emotional struggles. Even Jesus struggled with his dark night of anguish and a time when the sun refused to shine.

God handed me a spade and encouraged me to start digging. Continue reading “When You Find Yourself in a Dark Hole, Start Digging”

You’re so angry and it’s going to help you

You're so angry and it's going to help you

Why you get so angry can give a clear direction about who you truly are. It’s a matter of the heart. Your anger can indicate what you hold most dear.

As they became more whole, the anger started to simmer, then boil, and then it flowed over the containment of their life. It was, in a frightening way, beautiful and needed to happen.

Anger can be highly destructive. But flowing out without constraint can damage and burn. We all have this capacity to pour out our emotions of being hurt, mistreated, abused.

Some of the deepest hurts come from those we are in the closest relationship to. Those who we would hope and expect to know our hearts are often the ones who will not listen and show love and respect to our tender places.

I think of the patterns we set up so young to defend that tender heart. A little bruise, and a little slight, and we begin to build a fortress.

‘No one is ever going to hurt me again like that.’  Continue reading “You’re so angry and it’s going to help you”

Can anything good come from this?

Can anything good come from this nazareth

Can anything good come out of that time, place, or person? Only if we take a risk and explore. We are invited to ‘come and see.’ 

I was raised on a farm near a small town called Wellsford. In fact, my ancestors settled there in the 1860s, migrating from England. Through this town and the middle of our farm, a very busy road ran, taking traffic to one of the poorer areas of New Zealand, Northland.

It was also the route to some of the most beautiful beaches and summer holiday spots we have.

My little town was a place you mostly went through or stopped off for refreshments (amusingly, that’s how it’s still referred to on tourism websites).

It was also a place where many decided to leave. If you wanted to advance and get a better education or work, then you had to leave.  Continue reading “Can anything good come from this?”

When You Have to Handle Criticism

When You Have to Handle Criticism

Criticism can hurt, bruise and extinguish our hearts, but learning how to handle criticism can build new strength and resilience.

I could see the hope drain out of him as I watched both the subtle and not so subtle criticisms land upon him.

I was in a meeting with a guy I was supporting, and we were problem-solving.

Every solution he suggested was shot down. It was one little cat scratch after another. He would say a few words, and the critic would speak five hundred back.

The poor guy, I thought. I wondered what it was like when he was alone with this woman. No wonder he was depressed, anxious, and stuck.

Criticism can strangle a heart till it gives up and doesn’t try anymore. The words of a critic start to be believed as a truth in your own being. Your inner critic starts negating you. You’re on a downward spiral.  Continue reading “When You Have to Handle Criticism”

Money Falling From The Sky and a Hope Deferred

Money Falling from The Sky and a Hope Deferred heart sick

When hope is deferred, our heart grows sick, but when we see and know the hope fulfilled in the now, we can build resilience to the struggles of the day. 

People traveled long distances hoping to get some of the money ‘falling from the sky.’ 

A few nights ago, I watched a news item about a publicity marketing stunt that made a seemingly genuine promise and failed to deliver.

A company had promised.

‘New Zealand’s first mass cash drop.’

‘We’re dropping $105,891.40 [$74,558.13 USD] in value from the sky’

‘YES. Actual money will be flying …’

Instead, it was fake money and vouchers for discounts at their online store.  Continue reading “Money Falling From The Sky and a Hope Deferred”

How to Cast Your Cares on a Clydesdale God

How to Cast your Cares on a Clydesdale God

We can all carry too many worries, anxieties, and cares, but when we learn how to cast, we can find a new sense of wholeness, peace, and shalom.

‘That is a lot you are carrying,’ I said as they paused and took a breath.

So many worries, thoughts, and distractions going around in their head. It was, as someone described it, a monkey mind. Clattering noisy monkeys vying for your attention in the cage of your brain.

I had given them room to voice the noise, and only a little had slipped out.

For many of us, we have become so used to the noise of worry that we think it’s normal. Continue reading “How to Cast Your Cares on a Clydesdale God”