Thursday, 10 November 2011


"I will sing of your mercy which leads me through vallies of sorrow to rivers of joy..."
-- Jars of Clay

(Mmm, yes. I will sing and sing and sing at the top of my voice wherever He places me this world and I will keep on singing til He finally brings me home to His side.

... Being back in the English countryside is like being home in a deeper sense than being home.)

Friday, 4 November 2011

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit (again and again and again)

It's the quiet night that breaks me
I cannot stand the sight of this familiar place
It's the quiet night that breaks me
Like a dozen paper-cuts that only I can trace
All my books are lying useless now
All my maps will only show me how to lose my way
Oh call my name, [Y]ou know my name
And in that sound everything will change
Tell me it won't always be this hard
I am nothing without [Y]ou, but I don't know [W]ho [Y]ou are

It's the crowded room that breaks me
Everybody looks so luminous and strangely young
It's the crowded room that's never heard
No one here can say a word of my native tongue
I can't be among them anymore
I fold myself away before it burns me numb
Oh call my name, [Y]ou know my name
And in [Y]our love everything will change
Tell me it won't always be this hard
I am nothing without [Y]ou, but I don't know [W]ho [Y]ou are

I am nothing without [Y]ou

I remember when I first heard this Vienna Teng song. I was in my second year of uni in England, and on such a journey of growth in my walk with God that every day felt like it held years of tracing my fingertips across His face and taking in its every nuance. They were overwhelming years. They were beautiful years. 

I remember listening to this song, and feeling Him breathing in it so profoundly that it stole my breath. I went outside in the wide open back garden in the night, and sat under the large old Redcliffe tree. As the tears streamed down my face, I thought about the lyrics. I felt them. She put my aching melancholy so aptly into words. I felt the frustration of the familiar, and the futility of the books and the maps trying to tell me the way. I felt the loneliness of being in a crowded room and hearing no one speak in my soul's 'native tongue'. And out there under the stars, 'folding myself away,' I felt the awe of my God. This being who is so utterly HOLY, that no matter how many years I had walked with him, and how many years have been added to those years now, I still cannot contain Him, cannot grasp Him, cannot explain Him or predict Him or somehow wrap my little mind around Him. And there was something comforting in singing out these words. There was something comforting about accepting that without this mysterious, Holy-beyond.grasp being, I was absolutely nothing, my life was absolutely nothing. The depth of my neediness... And the knowledge that 'in His love', that neediness was not only perfectly okay, but right. 

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven..."
-- Matthew 5:3, NIV

I am reading a book on spiritual development which has been entirely His timing in this season of counseling and soul work. It describes our spiritual development in our walk with God in stages. The latest stage I am reading about is basically summed up in this song. Coming to a place of ambiguity, yet certainty. Truly accepting in humility who and what we are, and getting lost in Who He is, even though we cannot even grasp it. Realizing that every "map" we've used for directions on this journey to His heart is an over-simplification of something which really cannot be mapped. That nothing satisfies (except the fact that 'He knows my name'). That it's only in His love that everything makes sense... and even that 'sense' is inexplicable... 

This is where I am. Nothing without Him, and yet knowing He is beyond everything I can even imagine to have known He was. And somehow blessed to know how poor and needy I am. Because it's there I can rest. It's there that the kingdom is mine, and I am home.

"How blessed are those who are destitute in spirit, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to them!"
--Matthew 5:3, ISV
"God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs."
-- Matthew 5:3, NLT

"Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous-- with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!"
--Matthew 5:3, Amplified

"God blesses those people
   who depend only on him.
  They belong to the kingdom of heaven!"
-- Matthew 5:3, CEV

"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule."
--Matthew 5:3, The Message


"When life gives you more than you can stand, kneel..."

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Another Journey

Oooh, it's been a long wait...

But as the main rush of wedding season peters out, I'm once again saying goodbye to this pretty Nordic city and heading out to spend much needed time with precious friends and family in "my two home countries"!

I will keep up with the blog as much as I can, but Saturday commences about 5 weeks of travel around the UK seeing loved ones and soaking up His presence in those day-to-days with the friends He's given to place hands on and form my life, and the man He's placed there to hold it :) So far the journey is taking me to London, Andover, Salisbury, the Norfolk coast, The Cotswolds, Bristol, Bradford-on-Avon, a village in Devon, Gloucester, and the Isle of Sheppey! Oh, there is no where like England to me!!

And after those weeks, it's home again, just in time for Christmas!! This visiting my family twice in one year business feels quite a treat. Who knows what He has in store!

One thing is sure, He has each of us on a journey, whether they involve planes, trains, and automobiles, passports and border controls, or paperwork at the office and commutes, grocery-shopping, baby-soothing, and storybook reading, or guzzling coffee at 3am to finish that essay due in at 8. He astounds me with His attention to my heart, to my life, and His deliberately always working away at this lump of clay, moving me toward wholeness and holiness through every circumstance of life. He is teaching me a great deal about hope these days.

And it's this verse which holds me the most at the moment:
"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." -- 1 Thess. 5:23-24

So, here's to the One who is faithful, and the journey He has each of us on
Your fellow sojourner,

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