Welcome to my attempt to live fully and honestly, to sing out the song of myself, to truly know who I am......

.....either that or the ramblings of a barely coherant, tired out mum of two!!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

"Arise, shine, for your light has come”.

It seems to me that the Christmas lights go up earlier every year and they stay up longer after the event too. I don’t mind though I like the way they twinkle and sparkle in the deep, dark depths of winter. They give out a comforting glow amid the long dark nights and they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
They are, however, weak and pale in comparison to the light that blazed on the hillside when the shepherds were surprised by the angels. And even the brightest of our Christmas decorations are lost in the brightness of the star that guided the magi to Bethlehem.
Many of the Christmas lights that shine in the darkness of our city streets are put up by people who don’t know Jesus and if they have heard of him they consider him irrelevant in these modern times and yet ………..

God is able to use these lights to point the way to Jesus.

The lights shine in the dark and remind us of Jesus – The Light of the World.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come”.

Today is Epiphany and we remember the visit of the magi to the new family of Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus. They came from distant lands and distant cultures. They were guided on their journey by light. A bright new star had appeared in the night sky and it shone out guiding and leading them onwards.

God is able to use starlight to point the way to Jesus – The Light of the World.

As well as being Epiphany today is also the 6th January. 19 years ago today at about half past one in the morning my big sister, Hazel, lost her battle against cancer and died whilst listening to passages from Isaiah.

"Arise, shine, for your light has come”.

Hazel had been battling the disease for about two years. During this time she had massive surgery to remove the tumours and she gave birth and life to her second son. After his birth she had the chemotherapy that might have saved her had she agreed to receive it immediately after surgery but whilst she was still pregnant.

Despite the obvious high of a brand new life, Hazels illness was a dark time in the life of our family. She didn’t want to die and leave her young boys and we didn’t want to lose her. We prayed and we hoped. We celebrated her tiny improvements and we endured her many setbacks.
But it wasn’t all bleak. It wasn’t all dark. Hazels faith shone out like a beacon. She never once doubted that there was a higher purpose even though it was a mystery to all of us, she never asked ‘Why me?’ and if other folk voiced the question on her behalf she would respond with “why not?”.
In the moments before her death she asked for the Bible to be read to her and her final words were ‘I’m going home’.
It seems fitting to me that this woman of great faith gave up her fight and her life at Epiphany.

"Arise, shine, for your light has come”.

In the days, weeks and months following her death mum and I drew great strength from a song by Glenda Vaccaro. The song talks about how life is like a small boat tossed about on a great sea and Jesus is our lighthouse guiding us, watching over us, keeping us safe. This song though a bit cheesy sustained us, it kept us sane and it kept us focussed on Jesus even through the blackest days.

God is able to use the light of faith in a dying woman and the words of a corny song to point us to Jesus – The Light of the World.

"Arise, shine, for your light has come”.

Living in the middle of Nottingham can be a dismal experience. With shootings and stabbings and a general feeling of uneasiness it can feel dark and bleak. For most of us who live in Radford the darker elements of crime and anti-social behaviour form a backdrop to our lives but occasionally it encroaches on our existence in an unwelcome and frightening way. When this happens it is easy to see the area where we live in mostly negative terms.
Sometime ago when returning to Nottingham from a trip up North in driving rain and semi darkness I was struck by an amazing sight. There before me were the Radford flats bathed in a pool of light flooding through a gap in the dark clouds and framed by a dazzling rainbow. The sight was so beautiful that I was transfixed. I was reminded that God is at work in even the darkest places and when seen in his light even the mundane can be transformed into something beautiful.

God is able to use the sunlight to point to his Son Jesus – The Light of the World.

"Arise, shine, for your light has come”.

Our first reading from Isaiah provides us with a picture of hope beyond darkness. The original hearers of Isaiah’s words are called to act in response to the light that will come even though it is preceded by darkness. They are asked to take the long view towards the time when the age of the Messiah dawns on the land and a reversal of circumstances is introduced. When the Messiah comes darkness will be turned to light and instead of the Israelites being taken off in exile to foreign lands, people from those lands will come to Zion.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come”.

We are living on the other side of this event. In the reading from Matthew the prophetic words of Isaiah have become a reality. The Messiah has been born into the world and visitors came from foreign lands to worship Him. The age of the Messiah is begun and His Light shines in the darkness.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come”.

We are called to act in response to the Light that has been revealed to us in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus – The Light of the World.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come”.

We are a people called to be light in places of darkness. Pointing the way to Jesus – The Light of the World.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come”.

God calls us to reflect His light in our relationships, in our communities, in our places of work and our schools. We are called to be light when we go down the pub, or when we do our shopping. We are called to be light in every aspect of our lives because we are people living in the Light of Jesus – The Light of the World.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come”.

It seems a bit of a tall order doesn’t it? Certainly my light seems a bit dim and pointless on many occasions especially if I’m feeling grumpy. Shane and the kids could I’m sure provide you with a long list of times and occasions when I have failed to be light or reflect God’s light into the situation at hand. But just because we’re not always very good at it doesn’t mean that we will be let off from trying.

God is able to take our best efforts and our weakest efforts and use us to point to Jesus – The light of the World.

Just think about that for a minute. Our God who is able to command light into existence, who is able to use stars and angels to announce the birth of His Son uses us with our weaknesses and our inconsistencies to point others to Jesus – The Light of the World.
And what do we need to do to share in this amazing privilege?
We just need to listen to the guiding and nudging of the Spirit, be willing to be used in any situation we find ourselves in and just do the best we can leaving the rest up to God.
Each of us has a story to share. Stories about Gods light shining in and through the dark times. Stories about how God has changed and transformed our lives until the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Stories about answered prayers and prayers that still await longed for answers. In recent months we have looked at what it means to offer true hospitality and we took part in the Big Conversation, telling our stories to each other and to those who not yet know Jesus can help to build community and point the way to Jesus.
Our individual stories are woven together by our Creator God until we become more than the sum of our parts, more than a collection of individuals getting together for a short time once a week.
We can become a living, breathing community, a lighthouse in a dark place shining the Christ light for all to see. We can become a place and a people who offer the hope that the darkness will not last forever because the light of Jesus shines in and through us.

God can and does use us, flawed and unfinished though we may be, to point the way to Jesus – The Light of The World.

"Arise, shine, for your light has come”. Amen.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Baby Blogger - Hello

we have been so busy we forgot to blog!!

Peter - I am now four and a half and I have been going to school since last September. I am driving mummy and daddy banannas but I don't mean to I am just learning about everything. ellie and I fight a lot but she keeps taking my toys and won't let me play with hers. Mummy says she needs to learn about sharing. I still wear my foot splint and I have one at night to. Mummy and daddy say they are very pleased with my progress.


Eleanor - I am now two and a half years old and I am having what daddy calls the 'terrible twos'. I just get very frustrated because people don't always understand me and I don't always get what i want. I am doing well at Nursery. we all went on holiday to florida last year and had a great time. Peter and I really enjoyed the pool at the house.


Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Why Don't They Tell You?

Why Don't They Tell You?
I was just wondering why all those glossy parenting magazines never tell the truth of how piggin' difficult looking after and bringing up children actually is.

They don't tell you that you'll be cut up and/or torn and will have to pee sitting in a bath of cold water for weeks. They don't tell you how painful breast feeding can be or that you might end up being at it for hours on end. They don't tell how distressing for mum and dad sibling rivalry can be or how excruciatingly high pitched a childs whine can actually be. They don't tell you that not everyone is a natural mother and bonding and developing relationships with these vulnerable little ones can feel like an uphill struggle.

They only tell you about the joy and the love and the mystery and miracle of having kids.

I would of like to have known both sides - I would of still had my two beautiful babies but I might have been a bit more prepared for the reality and not so tangled up with the dream and the longing.