Looking back…

2020 was a really rubbish year in so many ways… coronavirus, lockdowns, stress, people working from home, pupils suddenly unable to go to school, trying to manage the unmanageable from a distance because travel was not allowed. And not least because my dearly loved husband died.

Of all the things I ever expected to deal with, that was not one of them. He was only 56. Active, pretty healthy on the whole, so I thought. Little did I know. Gone in an instant with a heart attack. The post mortem showed damage to his heart from hypertension. He had high blood pressure for many years, medicated, but unstable. His younger sister had become severely disabled four years earlier following a massive stroke and suddenly we had to take responsibility for managing her life as she was unable to do it for herself. It was a lot to take on and caused him a great deal of emotional stress. He felt the weight of responsibility plus immense sorrow for all that she (and he!) had lost. I think this took its toll on him. He also had chronic pain from a longstanding back condition, though he pushed through it a lot of the time. The long and the short of it though, was that he found it hard to let go, rest and find peace, in spite of his faith. Eventually, he had no choice in the matter, and I know that he finally does have everlasting peace and joy in the presence of the Lord. That gives me comfort though I miss him terribly, as do my sons.

I’ve been writing journal entries sporadically, for my own benefit really, to help me process what has happened. I’ve thought about posting them on here but most, especially the early ones, are just too raw and intensely personal to inflict on others. But then I’m guessing that a lot of people are also grieving loss though, if not the death of a loved one, at least of the forced absence of the people most loved and cherished and the loss of freedoms we have valued. Loneliness, boredom, anger, frustration, no hope on the horizon that things will ever go back to normal… It’s hard to bear.

Even when we have a relationship with Jesus and try to ignore the ensuing madness and keep our eyes on him, the weight of all the others in the “emotional boat” with us (family, friends, neighbours etc) makes it hard to keep going at times. We just want to give up, lie down and let the sea wash over us and take us where it will…

The following is one piece I wrote the day after an especially difficult day of tears and sobbing for the pain of my broken heart, the enormity of my loss and the feeling of unbearable emptiness that I could not shake off.
Today feels like the calm after the storm. When you open the door and look at the wreckage… That tree you thought was indestructible has been blown down and it lies on the ground, looking strange and unnatural, with its roots laid bare, leaves scattered all around and a big hole in the ground where it once stood. However will you move it, clear the debris and fill in such a massive crater? Will the ground ever be as firm and sturdy where it once stood?
You step outside and look at the paleness of the morning sky, feel the cool stillness of the air. It’s hard to believe that just yesterday this was a maelstrom, a place of swirling turbulence and turmoil. Now it’s calm and quiet, but you still have the memory and feel the emotions from that stormy day.
This must be a little bit how Jesus’ followers felt after the crucifixion as they surveyed the wreckage of their lives and wondered how such devastation could be followed by such calm. The event has passed. Things might appear to be back to normal, but actually something so significant has happened, that things will never be the same again…

And yet… look what happened. He died, his followers grieved – they were lost. What should they do now? They had relied on his strength and guidance those past three years. He had loved them, trusted them and made them believe they were more than they’d ever thought possible. The incredible things they’d seen and done…! Finished. It really was all finished. Jesus said so.

If only they’d realised the goodness of God. The ultimate, amazing, incredible, sacrificial love of God, the plan for redemption and restoration, they would not have mourned. They would have rejoiced there and then.

As for me, I do rejoice that my dearest, lovely husband is in the best place it is possible to be and I will see him again one day. My joy is for him, my tears are for me because I’m still here, and I miss him.

Watch “Jesus and The Passover” on YouTube

https://youtu.be/e-Vw4nk8sZ4
Matthew 26:26-29 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

As Jesus shared the Passover seder with his disciples, he held up the matzah and said,  “This is my body…”  As they looked upon the unleavened bread, striped with scorch marks from being cooked in haste, and pierced with holes, they must have wondered what he was talking about, for he had not yet been arrested, tortured and crucified.

The wine represented his own blood, which he would shed to make a new covenant with his father. This covenant superseded the “old” covenant between God and man and was based not on man’s righteousness but on Jesus’s.

Please watch this excellent video on Jesus and the Passover, by Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel Ministries, to understand how the seder meal and Passover celebrations actually tell not just of the Jews being rescued from slavery in Egypt, but of Jesus, who came to rescue mankind.

As the 10th and final plague was being sent upon the land, God gave Moses some very specific instructions…

Exodus 12:21-23 ..Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.

The thing about the blood though, is that you have to apply it. The destroyer was not allowed to enter where the Lord God SAW the blood on the lintel and doorposts.

If you do not know Jesus today, and have not applied his blood to your life by believing who he is and what he’s done, and confessing what you believe, please do not wait any longer. See who he really is and understand how it actually all ties together and makes perfect sense! One day, maybe soon, it will be too late.

Romans 10:5-10 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

The Prodigal Son, part 3…

Sorry I’ve been absent from here for quite a while, but I’m finally back to take this post out of drafts and publish it, which was always my intention!


If you read The Prodigal Son parts one and two, thank you – and I hope it all made sense. I just wanted to add a final few thoughts from this multi-layered parable!

Our pastor recently made a fairly random comment whilst preaching about something else. He said, “What if the prodigal son had been met by his brother, instead of his father…?” Woah! That’s the kind of comment that gets me thinking!

The older brother had never developed a close relationship with his father or his brother. He was focused on what he could do to build his inheritance. He had a works based mentality. He was angry at his brother for taking his share of the estate (and no doubt jealous that he was out living his life – he felt like a martyr!) When he heard his brother had returned home penniless, he was angry with his father for welcoming him with open arms and showing him favour he didn’t deserve!

As the father pleaded with him to join in the celebration he refused, saying, “Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.” [Luke 15:29] He had served the father and kept his commands, but out of duty – he was only thinking of building the family business for himself. He wanted to celebrate with his friends and did not desire to spend time with his father, or build a close relationship with him. He did not understand his father’s heart of love for both his sons and his longing to have both at his side.

When we believe on Jesus – who he is and what he’s done for us, we are saved by grace, through faith. (Eph 2:8) The debt for our sins was paid in full at the cross and there is no further punishment that can be meted out to us because we have been pronounced “Not guilty!” for eternity. At that very moment, we too receive the Father’s undeserved favour.

The parable could also demonstrate the positions of both Jews and Christians and their perspective perhaps? Both see God as Father. The Jews represent the older brother, working and keeping the law, thus hoping they do enough to inherit the kingdom. Christians have seen the love of the Father through Jesus, the Messiah that the Jews failed to recognise, and they rejoice in their relationship with him knowing that they are loved unconditionally.

If you were to put yourself into the parable, which brother would you be? Does your honest response give you pause for thought…? Are you hedging your bets and working for your inheritance or simply trusting in the finished work of Jesus, grateful and overjoyed to be wrapped in the Father’s loving arms.

The world stops…

The world stops

For me.

My world stops.

I can’t hear the birds,

The wind in the trees.

The sea is silent.

My world has stopped.

She’s gone.

Dead.

My baby has left me

Alone.

I feel so alone.

Can’t think straight,

but so much going on in my head.

Why did you leave?

How could you leave?

Leave me?

Leave US?

We miss you so much.

No more laughter, chatter, shouting, crying…

The sound of your footsteps,

the flick of your hair…

All gone.

Our. World. Has. Stopped.

For dear Jo, following the sudden and unexplained death of her 16 year old daughter.

I am set with the seal of God…

I wrote this many years ago at a church quiet day at a nearby abbey.


I am set with the seal of God. Like a parcel – stamped; my destination and the name of the one sending me, written. All I have to do is be. He has done the rest.

I will travel through “the system” wrapped in his covering, his string “crossed” over me to keep me secure. I will not get lost, for he is my deliverer; the sender and the receiver. I am his. I am set with the seal of God.

The Prodigal Son, part two!

So, I’ve been thinking about the parable of the prodigal son a lot lately, hence part two, after the original post a few days ago.

The Lord never wasted words or chatted idly, he always spoke what we need to hear and understand. Perhaps there is something important here for us to know…?

The prodigal son had received his inheritance. The father knew he wasn’t mature or wise enough to use it well, yet he gave the inheritance because the son asked (1) him for it!

The son went off with his inheritance, not realising the true value of what he’d been given. He carried on his life without regard for the worth of the father’s gift (it wasn’t really an inheritance as his father was not dead.) It was only when the son had tried to live his life his own way, in his own strength, and failed miserably that his thoughts turned back (2) to the father and he saw how good he was and how much he needed to be with him.

When he had returned, not expecting anything more than to be treated as a lowly servant, he realised that his father loved him beyond measure, had been waiting for him to come back and welcomed him with open arms. He did not condemn him (3) for the mistakes he’d made or the time he’d been away. He gave him a robe, a ring and sandals for his feet – all symbols of sonship. The son realised that he had not lost his place in the family but would always be a son to his father.


To me this speaks volumes into the “Once saved, always saved” debate. If you are truly born again into God’s family, you cannot be “unborn”. Once given the Holy Spirit, you are saved and sealed – your position is secure.

Though you may go your own way for a time, or not use what you’ve been given with wisdom, you will not lose the position you hold. And when you realise your great need to be in your father’s presence, he will welcome you back and remind you again of your sonship (yes, even the ladies – sons traditionally inherited.)

This parable is for those who are already one of the family; who’ve messed up, who’ve gone astray and feel like a failure, who think they can’t possibly be loved or accepted, who are reluctant to come home because they don’t feel worthy…

The reason you ARE worthy is because at some point, you said YES to Jesus and believed in him by faith and are now IN CHRIST. Everything that Jesus is to the father is now imputed to you, because (4) “As he is, so are you in this world.” Is Jesus pleasing to the father? Absolutely!

(1) Matthew 7:7-11

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. [8] For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. [9] “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? [10] Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? [11] If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

(2) Metanoia / repentance / to turn or change one’s mind.

(3) Romans 8:1-2
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, [2] because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

(4) 1 John 4:15-17
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. [16] So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. [17] By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.